Finding out you are pregnant has to be one of the greatest joys in your life. With it comes all the challenges and positives during pregnancy time. If you also happen to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you just need to be more careful with your health in the 9-months that you have to carry your baby with you.
You might be aware that gestational diabetes can develop alongside your pregnancy but you probably also have a lot of questions about it. In this article, we summarized the most asked questions about gestational diabetes:
At what week does gestational diabetes usually develop?
Around the 24th week of your pregnancy, you might have the first signals that you have gestational diabetes. Between the 24th and the 28th week, you have to be tested. If you are at higher risk or you have obvious symptoms of GD – your doctor may test you even earlier (20th week).
What are the warning signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes?
Every type of diabetes is deeply connected to your kidneys so you will probably experience more frequent urination. Other signs of GD are increased thirst, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, increased appetite, weight loss, and blurred vision.
What is the main cause of gestational diabetes?
At some point in the late pregnancy (24th – 28th week) women’s bodies might not make enough insulin which will lead to troubled blood sugar levels. Obesity and high body index can increase the risk of developing GD. Gaining a significant amount of weight during pregnancy can also be a huge factor. The potential development of GD is high if one of your parents or siblings has diabetes or you developed the condition during your previous pregnancy. Another factor is the woman’s age: if she is 25 and older, she is more likely to develop GD.
What test should you make for gestational diabetes?
At one of your doctor’s visits (around the 24th week), they will suggest you make a test for GD named Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT). You will have to drink 50 grams of glucose syrup and an hour after that your blood sugar levels will be measured. If your blood glucose is higher than normal you will need to take another test called 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test. It is similar to the first one with the only difference in the glucose intake (100 grams) and period (3 hours). The 3rd option for testing, if you have gestational diabetes, will be 12 hours of fasting and then drinking 75 grams of glucose syrup followed by a 2-hour blood glucose test.
What blood sugar levels indicate gestational diabetes?
A blood sugar level below 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is usually considered within the standard range on a glucose challenge test. If you happen to have above 190 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 10.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) – this shows that you probably have gestational diabetes. Recommended blood sugar levels targeted during pregnancy are as follows:
- Before a meal: 95 mg/dL (5.3 mmol/L) or less
- An hour after a meal: 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) or less
- Two hours after a meal: 120 mg/dL (6.7 mmol/L) or less
Can gestational diabetes affect the baby?
No, but babies may be born earlier than expected which can cause breathing problems. At a later stage in life children with mothers who had GD are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Does gestational diabetes mean a high-risk pregnancy?
Women with GD may have larger babies which results in a much more difficult delivery. Most of them usually rely on cesarean section (C-section).
Is gestational diabetes permanent?
No. GD goes away after you give birth. It is recommended to monitor your blood sugar levels up to 12 weeks after your baby is born.
What birth defects are caused by gestational diabetes?
Because GD usually develops at a much later stage of the pregnancy, the baby is safe. If any complications occur – they are manageable and preventable. The baby might be born with low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) resulting from the separation from the mother’s womb where the fetus has been experiencing quite the opposite. Doctors are always checking the blood sugar levels of a newborn and if needed, they give the baby glucose intravenously.
Should you have a specific diet?
Yes, of course! All people with diabetes have to be aware of sugar’s effect on their bodies. So low carb and high protein/fat/fiber diets are recommended. Try to eat plenty of whole fruits and vegetables and fewer foods that contain added sugar such as candy, soft drinks, artificial juices, etc.
What is recommended to do during your pregnancy with GD?
Here are some simple gestational diabetes treatment recommendations to follow:
- check your blood sugar levels regularly
- eat a healthy and nutritious diet
- monitor your baby’s health
- don’t forget to stay active
There is no doubt that pregnancy complications feel scary at first because you are now worrying not only about your health but also about your baby’s health. We hope that by answering some of the big questions about the development of gestational diabetes you will have more confidence in facing this temporary health issue, and focus on the positive – welcoming a new life!
Diabetes:M is an application that will make the management of your temporary condition way easier. You can enter not only your blood sugar levels but also what you eat and how many insulin units you need per meal. Download it now to have peace of mind during your pregnancy.