Already you know gestational diabetes is defined as glucose intolerance first recognized during pregnancy. While you are sitting there reading this, you are going to learn about gestational diabetes and the possible outcome of this condition.
- is a temporary form of diabetes
- can occur in the late stages of pregnancy among some women
- insulin levels increase during pregnancy to provide enough energy for the growing baby…there is a type of competition between mother and baby for this energy
- then resistance in the mother increases as sensitivity in the baby also increases
- and the mother’s pancreas begins working overtime and becomes stressed
- will reverse itself once the baby is born
A woman with diabetes has as much chance of a healthy baby as anyone else these days.
Which women should be screened?
- all pregnant women … not just older women
When should pregnant women be screened?
- somewhere between weeks 24 and 28.
Almost all treatment for gestational diabetes is with lifestyle choices, diet and physical activity. Although due to very high blood sugar levels, some women will need to take insulin. Very high blood sugar levels can be harmful to mother and baby. If you have type 2 diabetes and you take tablets to help you manage your blood glucose levels, your health care provider will usually advise you to use insulin from early pregnancy.
You are probably wondering about your baby and blood glucose.
- glucose passes freely from your blood to your baby via the placenta
- your baby makes his/her own insulin from about 15 weeks to help handle this glucose
- if your glucose levels are high, higher levels are then passed onto your baby
- the extra insulin will make your baby grow larger and fatter than normal
- obesity and diabetes are more common in children born to women with diabetes. If your blood glucose levels are not managed well during pregnancy there is an increased chance your baby will become overweight and develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Following delivery your blood glucose levels will be checked for 24 hours to see whether they have returned to the normal range. Your health care provider will also organise for you to have a glucose tolerance test 12 weeks following your baby’s birth. You know you have to make a decision to focus on healthy eating and regular physical activity to control your weight to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
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