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Gestational Diabetes – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Published on: 13 July , 2018 | Ekta

Pregnancy for some moms-to-be can be a cakewalk. But many pregnant women face certain health issues. One of the common occurrences is gestational diabetes. The type 1 and type 2 can cause the blood sugar levels to rise extremely. Early diagnosis of both during gestational diabetes is very important. Undiagnosed type 1 diabetes can lead to vomiting and dehydration, thus resulting in severe life threatening situations. Undiagnosed type 2 comes from persistent high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. This can lead to damages in the kidneys, eyes, and nerves. This blog explains everything you need to know about Gestational Diabetes – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment. When you eat, the digestive system breaks the food into smaller particles and the fine sugar is known as “glucose”. It enters the bloodstream, which is provides energy to cells. With the help of insulin, fat, muscles, and the other cells of the body absorb the glucose from the blood.

Causes Of Gestational Diabetes

What if the body doesn’t produce enough insulin? Or if at any point, the cells don’t respond to it enough? Or too much glucose tends to remain in the cells rather than being converted into energy. Under such circumstances, during pregnancy, the body becomes naturally resistant to insulin so that the baby gets more nourishment from the glucose. For many to-be-moms, this isn’t an actual problem. The insulin that their body needs to process the excess glucose which is secreted from the pancreas. But if the pancreas fails to keep up with the increasing demand for insulin at the time of pregnancy, the blood sugar levels tend to rise hastily because the cells don’t use the glucose. This ultimately causes gestational diabetes. This form of diabetes needs to be recognized and treated fast as it lead to complications for both the baby and the mother. Take a sigh of relief! This form of gestational diabetes isn’t permanent. Once the baby is born, the blood sugar level in most cases returns back to normal. However, it increases the chances developing diabetes in the future.  

Understanding the risk of developing gestational diabetes?

All women are prone to developing gestational diabetes but all cases are not that risky. Around 10% of the women have the chances of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy. The signs and causes leading to gestational diabetes are many but certain significant ones are likely to be considered. Let's have a look at the situations.
  • If you are 25 years old or above and have a family member who has been suffering with diabetes.
  • If you are overweight and the BMI is over 30.
  • If you are glucose intolerant and are suffering from PCOS.
  • Take drugs related to asthma, mental health issues, rapid heart rate, or high blood pressure.
  • If you have had macrosomia before (A new born who was significantly larger than average).
These points can be kept in mind but there is no certain way to determine that you won't or will get affected by gestational diabetes. If you are pregnant anywhere between 24 to 28 weeks, your doctor will screen you for gestational diabetes. Do not ignore the symptoms, the risk factor is likely to increase with time. One of the largely used tests for gestational diabetes is “oral glucose screening”. The efficiency of the body to produce insulin is tested through this test.  The healthcare provider will provide you with a sweet drink on the day of the test and an hour later, the glucose levels in the blood will be checked. If the blood sugar level in the test reflects a rise, you will have to go through another test known as the “oral glucose tolerance test”. In this test, the person has to fast before taking the sweet drink. The blood is tested once before taking the sweet drink at the time of fasting and again after 2-3 hours. If the results reflect the blood sugar level to be high, then the person has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Both these tests are considered safe for both the baby and the mother and are known not to have any major side effects. However, the sweet drink might make the mother nauseated for some time.

Pregnancy Health and Gestational Diabetes

Several mothers have been curious to know about their health & safety during gestational diabetes. In order to ensure a healthy pregnancy, the treatment plan should be followed strictly. Regular screening, exercising, monitoring the blood sugar level, and sticking to the meal plan is very important in order to have a healthy pregnancy. The diagnosis of the diseases may cause anxiousness but it is normal and is nothing to worry about. The right meticulous treatment will help you sail smoothly through your pregnancy. Self-motivation might be hard to find at this time and you might find it difficult to cope with the fact that you will not be able to treat yourself with your favorite food. Patience and self-control is the key to having a healthy pregnancy while suffering from gestational diabetes. You are not alone. Changing food habits and lifestyle may give you as well as your baby a healthy future. Even if it is hard to stick to the regime, do it for your best and the baby’s health.

Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes

Few symptoms can efficiently indicate high blood sugar level - gestational diabetes: Reach out to your doctor when you find yourself in these situations:
  • Feeling thirsty all the time.
  • Going to toilet very often.
  • Feeling exhausted.
  • Feeling nauseated.
  • Blurred vision.
It is not imperative that these symptoms are definite signs of gestational diabetes, these are just possible indications. These signs will alert you and help in getting early diagnosis and treatment. The doctor will have you tested through multiple screenings in order to make sure that you give birth to a healthy baby. Despite all efforts, if controlling the blood sugar level is still a challenge, your doctor might suggest you a diet and lifestyle specialist.

Foods That Help In Fighting Gestational Diabetes

We have mentioned earlier that proper diet and exercise can help in fighting and recovering from gestational diabetes. Some of the food items that help in controlling the blood sugar level have been enlisted. It is imperative to manage the blood sugar levels & monitoring the intake of carbohydrates. Skipping meals is not at all recommended.
  • Unsweetened yogurt
  • Baked fish
  • Skinless chicken breasts
  • Fresh fruit
  • Egg whites
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Steamed vegetables or stew
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Quinoa
  • Unsaturated fat such as avocado, peanut oil, olive oil, tuna, salmon, and chia seeds.

Foods to avoid during gestational diabetes

Cakes, biscuits, sweets, pudding, alcohol, soda, sugary fruit juice, white rice, potato, bread, processed food, dressings, and processed food. If these food habits can be religiously followed, then gestational diabetes will no longer be a problem. To all the strong mothers out there, you are doing fine and keep holding up. You can fight it out and give birth to a healthy child just like any other mom out there! More Power To You! Gestational Diabetes – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment
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A doting mom to an angel, Social Media Specialist & Professional Blogger. She loves to share her thoughts with other parents in the same turbulent boat. She absolutely loves & adores her family & is learning to strike a good work-life balance. When she is not writing, cooking or busy taking care of her toddler, she probably is dancing to some good desi music!

Ramya Ravindra Barithaya 2020-09-17 16:24:27

Superb post

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Ramya Ravindra Barithaya 2020-09-17 16:24:27

Thank you so much! :)

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Thank you for the comment!