What is Gestational Diabetes?
Acquired during pregnancy, gestational diabetes is a condition of high blood glucose levels which were normal before you become pregnant. With a little care, balancing blood sugar levels ensures you have a healthy pregnancy and both the mother and the child remain safe post the delivery. Gestational diabetes is usually a temporary health condition that arises due to mother’s inability to produce an increased amount of insulin to overcome resistance levels.
The commonly known high blood sugar symptoms like excessive thirst, tiredness and increased urination may not manifest in gestational diabetes.
Impact of Gestational Diabetes on Mother and Unborn Child
Receiving professional medical care for gestational diabetes is necessary to prevent it from affecting your child. You should also ensure all queries are answered by your personalized diabetes educator in order to understand the implications high blood sugar levels may have for you as well as your child.
According to widely researched studies, some commonly observed implications of gestational diabetes are:
- Infant Mortality and Birth Defects
The risk of infant mortality along with birth defects increases if a well-defined diabetes management plan if not followed consistently. In cases of pre-existing diabetes before the pregnancy, the risk multiplies for development of health conditions like hypertension, kidney disease, nerve damage, and retinopathy.
- Excessive Insulin
High blood sugar levels within the body of the mother leads to excess insulin production by the baby. These conditions must be closely monitored by your diabetes educator.
- Diabetes and Pre-Eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia causes dangerously high blood pressure and protein levels in the urine during pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia results due to problems in the placenta and can be diagnosed with the help of blood pressure and urine tests.
- Large Babies
Mothers with diabetes also tend to give birth to large babies weighing more than the average weight. Following a possibility of giving birth to a large baby, you may be advised to go for a c-section delivery.
Maintaining Optimum Blood Glucose Levels
Although consistently maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is important throughout the pregnancy, it is even more significant during the first trimester. The target HbA1c for people with diabetes is 6.1% (or 43 mmol/mol).
A good way to be aware about your sugar level patterns is to monitor it daily, at least four times a day using a handy and easy to use glucometer. Eating healthy diet with whole-grains and fruits and veggies with low glycemic index certainly helps maintain balanced blood sugar levels.
During pregnancy, it is highly advisable to exercise according to your regime as suggested by your healthcare team.