What is Gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes develops during your pregnancy. Similar to type I and II diabetes your blood sugar levels rise in gestational diabetes.It doesn’t mean you have had diabetes prior to pregnancy or you will have it post delivery. But maintaining good blood glucose levels is important for you and your baby.
The food we eat is broken down to glucose by the digestive system which enters the blood stream. Blood supplies glucose to the cells which absorbs it with the help of insulin hormone. This hormone is secreted by the pancreas.
If the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells have a problem absorbing it, then the blood glucose levels rise. During pregnancy your body becomes resistant to insulin so that more energy in the form of glucose is available for the baby.
For most of the expectant mothers, this isn’t a problem. Pancreas will secrete additional insulin required to process blood glucose. But if the pancreas are unable to produce the required insulin, then this results in gestational diabetes.
If left undetected, it can cause health complications to both mother and child. Diagnosis and treatment should be done at the earliest. However, this condition unlike other types is not permanent. After the delivery, the blood sugar levels will return to normal. But it increases the risk of the person developing diabetes in the future.
In most of the pregnant woman, gestational diabetes goes unnoticed with no signs and symptoms. Some of the symptoms include thirstiness more often, peeing a lot, feeling tired, experiencing nausea and having a blurred vision. Consult your doctor immediately if your have any of these symptoms. Normally your doctor recommends a screening test when you are between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Oral glucose screening test is the most common test for diagnosing gestational diabetes. It measures the levels of insulin. You are given a sweet drink the next day and your blood glucose levels are checked after an hour.
Another longer oral glucose screening test is recommended if your blood glucose levels are high. You have to do fasting for this test after which you are made to drink a sweet liquid. Your blood levels are tested at fasting then after one, two and three hours. If your blood glucose levels remain high at all the times, then you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Both the above tests are safe for you and your baby and do not have any side effects.