Expecting a baby? Well, it is one of the best phases of a woman’s life.
To give birth to a new being can be exciting and exhilarating! In nine months of the pregnancy term, the body undergoes a lot of changes and every month the expecting mother can feel her body change and grow; this is indeed fascinating!
This period can also prove to be daunting and overwhelming for many first time moms to be.
Like they say every pregnancy is different and every woman may experience different signs and symptoms at every stage.
Around 5 to 10% of women experience a condition called as gestational diabetes, where the pregnant women, without diabetes, show elevated levels of blood sugar, during pregnancy and this usually appears in the latter half of the pregnancy. This condition in women with gestational diabetes usually fades away after the birth of the child.
Understanding Gestational Diabetes
This condition develops, only during pregnancy, and mostly in the latter half. The hormonal changes and other changes can lead to this.
During pregnancy, the placenta secretes hormones, which in turn make up more glucose in the blood. The pancreas produces insulin to manage and metabolize that, if there happen to be any disturbances in this process of insulin secretion, the blood sugar levels rise causing diabetes.
When pregnant, the doctor tests for gestational diabetes in all women, this is by and large done at the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy, as at this time, the body produces more hormones which may cause insulin resistance. But below are some signs, which may indicate this condition in women with gestational diabetes.
· Frequent urination
· Fatigue or tiredness
· Blurred vision
· Excessive thirst
· Recurrent vaginal, bladder infections
Some risk factors for Women with gestational diabetes:
Women with gestational diabetes exhibit no symptoms and this condition can be detected only with some blood tests, like the glucose tolerance test and the glucose challenge test.
Although there can be a few risk factors, which can be associated with this condition.
· Family history of type 2 diabetes
· Obesity before and during pregnancy
· Age during pregnancy more than 25 years
· A fertility condition called PCOD or PCOS
· Have had gestational diabetes before
These risk factors put you at a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes.
Effects on the baby
Modern medicine has helped the ladies with gestational diabetes. With proper medicines and diet, they go on to give birth to healthy babies.
However several studies suggest that perpetually high blood sugar levels throughout pregnancy can cause harm to the baby in the long run.
There are several long-term effects on the offspring of mothers having diabetes during pregnancy.
A few studies conducted, propose that children of women with gestational diabetes are mostly prone to unfavorable side effects.
Macrosomia is a condition where the birth weight of the baby is above 4 kgs (larger and bigger than the average size). This is the commonly reported adverse side effect, associated with diabetes during pregnancy. This can harm the baby during delivery. It is also connected with prematurity, respiratory distress syndrome and birth trauma.
The baby can develop hypoglycemia; that is low blood pressure after delivery. This is because the baby’s body also produces insulin in response to the elevated glucose levels of the mother; this increased insulin decreases the glucose in the body of the baby. This hypoglycemia can cause breathing problems, lethargy, seizures, and jitteriness in the infant.
If the blood sugar levels are extremely high, it can affect the baby’s heart, due to thickening of a heart muscle. The baby does not get the required amount of oxygen from the blood and hence breathes rapidly.
Congenital malformation; increased risk of defects at birth is also seen in babies whose mothers have diabetes during pregnancy.
In extremely severe cases, women may experience a miscarriage or still birth.
Another abnormality associated is that the fetus is at a risk of developing oxidative stress. At later stages of life, this oxidative stress is thought to be implicated in several diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Vitiligo, Asperger syndrome and such others.
A few animal studies suggest that offspring of mothers with gestational diabetes are at an augmented risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in adulthood.
As adults, these babies can develop type 2 diabetes, which is a serious disease.
An increased risk of metabolic complications is also seen in kids having fetal exposure to gestational diabetes. The offspring can develop metabolic syndrome in later stages of life. Metabolic syndrome comprises of high blood pressure, high sugar, and excess body fat and high cholesterol levels. These combined factors can lead to heart diseases, diabetes and, stroke. These kids tend to be overweight and slightly obese.
Gestational Diabetes is one of the most common complications during pregnancy, affecting about 6% of the pregnant ladies. This condition has an impact on the future health of both the mother and child. This type of diabetes is adding to the global epidemic of diabetes, which is a risky disease. Remember, this condition is not permanent and goes back to normal after giving birth.
Effective medicines and diet changes can help the condition, in women with gestational diabetes.
The doctor can suggest several diet plans, a physical activity schedule and, appropriate medications to keep those sugar levels in control.
If required the doctor can suggest insulin shots along with the diet plans to meet the appropriate gain in weight during pregnancy.
Regular check up of blood sugar levels is highly recommended.
So, even if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, do not worry, it can be surely managed! Remember the human body is full of mysteries and miracles, there are risks associated, nothing is ever definitive, proper treatment with the advice of the doctor will ensure a safe delivery and you will be a glowing mom to a healthy baby!