Diabetes Canada defines Gestational Diabetes as a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Your body cannot produce enough insulin to handle the effects of a growing baby and changing hormone levels.
Insulin helps your body to control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood. If your body cannot produce enough insulin, your blood glucose (sugar) levels will rise. According to Mayo Clinic, Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby's health.
Expectant women can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising and, if necessary, taking medication. Controlling blood sugar can prevent a difficult birth and keep you and your baby healthy. As reported by Diabetes Canada, you are at at an higher risk of gestational diabetes if you are:
- 35 years of age or older
- Obese (Body Mass Index of 30kg/m2 or higher)
- Giving birth to a baby that weighed more than four kilograms
- Have Pre-diabetes
- Have had Gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- Have a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
According to Mayo Clinic, for most women, gestational diabetes doesn't cause noticeable signs or symptoms. Most symptoms of gestational diabetes is synonymous with symptoms of pregnancy such as
- feeling very thirsty
- peeing more often than usual
- feeling very tired
- feeling nauseous
Testing for gestational diabetes occurs during antenatal care which enables your doctor discover it fast and help you manage the diseases. If you develop gestational diabetes, you may need more-frequent checkups. These are most likely to occur during the last three months of pregnancy, when your doctor will monitor your blood sugar level and your baby's health.
Women that have gestational Diabetes are advised to:
- Choose a healthy diet
- Achieve a normal pregnancy weight gain
- Be physically active
If noticed early and managed properly, gestational diabetes normally goes away after birth. But women who've had it are more likely to develop gestational diabetes again in future pregnancies and type 2 diabetes. So women who have had gestational diabetes are advised to always monitor their blood sugar level.