Pregnancy makes you face various changes caused by the increased levels of hormonal secretion in your body. Some of these changes, such as thicker and shinier hair, are interpreted positively by expecting moms. Still, at the same time, gestational diabetes can seriously concern pregnant women.
Gestational diabetes results from the ineffective use of insulin by the mother's body, which raises blood sugar levels. Of course, gestational diabetes is temporary and, in most cases, will go away after giving birth.
Many women are shocked by the news and are mostly not aware of gestational diabetes or its symptoms. This is not strange, though, as some of the symptoms of gestational diabetes are very similar to typical pregnancy symptoms.
Therefore, because %2 - %10 of pregnant women develops this condition, it is a good idea to know about pregnancy diabetes. This way, you get familiarized with the factors that make you a potential candidate for it.
What is Exactly the Gestational Diabetes?
As the name implies, this type of diabetes may occur during pregnancy. You do not need to have type 1 or type 2 diabetes before experiencing gestational diabetes. Still, you may have high blood sugar levels during your current or subsequent pregnancy. The condition is usually only recognized after special tests are performed by your doctor at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Of course, you may have had diabetes before getting pregnant. Diabetes diagnosed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is not, by definition, gestational diabetes; instead, this type of diabetes needs treatment after your baby is born.
But despite having gestational diabetes, you can still give birth through vaginal delivery and breastfeed your baby. Moreover, you can be sure that gestational diabetes is not permanent. Hence, the answer to the question »does gestational diabetes go away? « Is that it will go away right after giving birth to your baby.
Factors that Make Pregnant Women More Susceptible to Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes occurs in the second half of pregnancy and can be caused by several factors. Obesity is one of the leading risk factors that make gestational diabetes more likely in pregnant women. In the United States, for example, an estimated 5% of pregnant women develop such diabetes.
Of course, the race also plays a part in gestational diabetes. Compared with white and non-Hispanic women, women of Hispanic and mixed, non-white origins, such as Hispanic black women or South Asian and Middle Eastern women, show a higher tendency to develop it.
Moreover, women with a history of diabetes (in their previous pregnancy) or those having an overweight child (weighing more than 4,5 kg or 101 lbs.), and finally women with a family history of diabetes (having diabetic parents or siblings), are categorized in this high-risk group, too.
Symptoms & Problems of Gestational Diabetes
In most cases, a pregnant mom has no clue about having gestational diabetes until a prenatal appointment is set and her obstetrician performs proper check-ups. Some symptoms of this type of diabetes are similar to the common symptoms of pregnancy. Therefore, many pregnant women do not attribute them to something serious, for example:
· Feeling too tired
· Itching sensation in the genital area
· Feeling highly thirsty
· Frequent visits to the bathroom, especially at night
· Weight loss for no reason
· Blurred vision
Gestational Diabetes Blood Sugar Levels
Your doctor can diagnose gestational diabetes by taking an OGTT test (Oral Glucose Tolerance Test). This test is a blood sample, exclusively a gestational diabetes test. It is critical, especially if a person has had gestational diabetes in their previous pregnancy. Moreover, a person should monitor their blood glucose levels at home using a special blood monitoring kit.
It should be noted that this type of diabetes resolves after pregnancy. However, you may experience it in subsequent pregnancies. In that case, you face a high risk of type 2 diabetes.
Such conditions can cause other problems for mother and baby, which include:
The mother needs a cesarean section (C-section) to take out the baby. Because as the sugar level in the mother's blood rises, the baby's blood sugar also increases. Babies born of mothers developing gestational diabetes are larger than usual.
As a result, the baby's overweight will bother the mother during the last months. If she chooses a vaginal delivery, it may put too much pressure on the baby's nerves or shoulder.
High and low blood pressure is another problem that affects pregnant women with gestational diabetes. In the first case, women with gestational diabetes often have higher blood pressure, leading to more severe pain. One is preeclampsia, where the protein in the urine and fingers and toes swell. Preeclampsia can cause premature labor, and there are risks of stroke, blood clot formation, or even cerebral bleed for the mother during delivery.
At the same time, insulin injections by a mother with gestational diabetes can lead to low blood pressure with severe and even fatal consequences. If the blood sugar level is not monitored correctly, the baby may also have low blood sugar.
Gestational Diabetes Meal Plans & Other Treatments
Gestational diabetes is not preventable, and you may be one of the few who get it. But don't worry! There are many ways to control your blood sugar, including insulin injections or medications prescribed by your doctor.
But suppose you want to prevent gestational diabetes as much as possible. It is good to consider things like eating a healthy diet, exercising, and having a healthy lifestyle. If lifestyle control is not helpful, the next step will be prescribing insulin and other medications.
To adjust your diet to a gestational diabetes meal plan which suits your new circumstances, seek the help of registered dietitian tips. You can also ask for advice on snacks for gestational diabetes.
Some general tips for your diet include using more complex carbohydrates (like beans, vegetables, etc.), adding protein and healthy fats intake, and dividing healthy food into small portions to consume throughout the day.
If you've been tested for gestational diabetes and got a positive result, remember to take a diabetes test 6 to 12 weeks after delivery. The same tests should be repeated every 1 to 3 years.
You will most likely have type 2 diabetes if gestational diabetes does not go away.
The sad news is that even if gestational diabetes goes away after childbirth, type 2 diabetes still affects half of the women in later years of life. Thus, sticking to your healthy lifestyle and physical exercise is the best strategy to prevent or keep it under control.
Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects less than 10% of pregnant women. Although in most cases, it goes away after childbirth, in some cases, it may not. If the symptoms of gestational diabetes persist, chances are high that you will develop type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is not preventable, but you need to take simple steps at home and decrease your blood glucose levels to treat it. Eating based on an adjusted meal plan, exercising (swimming, brisk running, etc.), and maintaining a balanced lifestyle help control it before and after childbirth.