Spotlight on Gestational Diabetes

During pregnancy, many women who have not been diagnosed as diabetic in the past develop gestational diabetes. This condition is believed to be the result of pregnancy hormones causing high blood glucose levels. Gestational diabetes can be an overwhelming diagnosis, but it is manageable and you can go on to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery . Here is a look at what you need to know about gestational diabetes.

Why does gestational diabetes occur?

Doctors are not sure what causes gestational diabetes , but they suspect that the hormones in the placenta may play a role. These hormones support the development of the baby, but they also make it more difficult for the mother’s body to use insulin as necessary to convert food into energy. This insulin resistance means that a mother may need as much as three times more insulin than normal to regulate her blood glucose levels. Faced with insufficient amounts of insulin, blood glucose levels can rise and diabetes will occur.

What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?

Unlike other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. When they do occur, symptoms generally include fatigue, thirst, and hunger. Most women find out that they have gestational diabetes during a routine blood test, which is one of the many reasons why maternal care is important. Although there may not be any symptoms, gestational diabetes can cause complications for the baby, including high birth weight, low blood glucose levels, and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes during adulthood.

How is gestational diabetes treated?

Some women may be able to control their blood glucose levels through diet and exercise. Other women may need medication, including insulin injections. Fortunately, by controlling blood glucose levels during pregnancy, women can protect their babies from the complications of gestational diabetes.

Care Net Pregnancy Center of Kittitas County helps women and men dealing with unplanned pregnancies make the choices that are right for them. Contact the pregnancy center in Ellensburg, WA, to make an appointment with a Client Advocate by calling (509) 925-2273.