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Gestational Diabetes

Important Information about Gestational Diabetes

Pregnancy can be a tough time, and it can be made even tougher by the onset of gestational diabetes.

Gestaitonal Diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs in a reported 10-15% of pregnant women in major cities (lower rates are reported from rural villages) and usually disappears again after the birth.

Why Gestational Diabetes Occurs

Gestational diabetes occurs in women as hormone changes raise the insulin resistance throughout the body. It is thought that this is so that the mother's body absorbs less glucose so that the infant gets enough of the share. In order to balance this out, the pancreas usually secretes more insulin. In some women however, the pancreas cannot keep up production with demand and so glucose levels can rise.

Testing

Gestational diabetes will usually have no noticeable symptoms.

A glucose level test on the blood or the urine can give an indicator as to whether a woman could be suffering from gestational diabetes.

These tests are usually blood or urine tests. However, just having a high glucose level does not definitely mean the mother has this type of diabetes. So if the result is a high glucose concentration, then further testing, such as a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT), needs to be carried out to see if the cause is gestational diabetes.

There are several tests to determine the presence of Pre-Diabetes, including some that are used during the treatment of regular diabetes.

Complications

There are several consequences of having gestational diabetes that can occur if glucose levels are not controlled.

Pre-eclampsia

This is a high blood pressure. It is not known why it occurs, but in rare cases it can cause severe complications.

The only way to cure pre-eclampsia is to deliver the baby.

In extreme cases, pre-eclampsia can lead to fits known as eclampsia. These can potentially be fatal for the mother and baby.

Macrosomia

With the high glucose levels circulating both the mother and the baby, the baby will store more as fat deposits. this can lead to the baby growing exceptionally large.

Around 50% of women who develop foetal macrosomia are likely to go on to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. A macrosomic baby weight is classed as above 4.5kg or 9lb 15oz.

Resurgent Diabetes

Having gestational diabetes in one pregnancy greatly increases your chances of developing it again in a second pregnancy. It also increases the chances of you and the baby developing Type 2 Diabetes later in lifes.

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