Gestational Diabetes: What is it and how can you CONTROL it

Updated on Nov 05, 2019 12:27 PM IST  |  837K
Gestational Diabetes: What is it and how can you CONTROL it

Gestational diabetes can happen at any stage of pregnancy, but is more commonly visible in the second or third trimester. It happens when the mother’s body cannot produce enough insulin, a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels, to meet the extra needs during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can cause complications for the mother as well as the foetus, both during and after pregnancy. Having gestational diabetes also puts the mother at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Mothers are made to take  an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) to determine if they are at risk. Most mothers with gestational diabetes are able to go normally through their pregnancy. But for some, gestational diabetes may lead to complications such as - the foetus growing larger than usual, an excess of amniotic fluid, premature birth, high blood pressure in the mother and the baby developing low blood sugar or contracting jaundice upon birth. In extremely rare cases, mother may give birth to stillborn babies.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes:

Gestational diabetes doesn’t show any explicit symptoms as such and therefore, pregnant mothers must get their blood checked their doctor. Early detection of gestational diabetes helps in getting effective treatment thus reducing the risk of pregnancy. Mothers may experience increased thirst, feeling hungry more often frequent visits to the bathroom to urinate, a dry mouth and increased fatigue if they are victims of gestational diabetes.

Who are at a greater risk of gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes affects up to 10% of pregnancies every year. Overweight mothers, women who are Asian, Hispanic, African-American or Native American, women with a family history of diabetes, patients of other medical complications, those who have experienced gestational diabetes before and women over the age of 25 are at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes.

What to do if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes:

1. Check your blood sugar levels four to six times a day.

2. Do regular urine tests to check for the presence of ketones. Ketones in urine means that the diabetes is not under control.

3. Eat a healthy diet as recommended by your doctor or dietician.

4. Exercise regularly. Keep your body active to keep blood sugar levels under control.