When the blood sugar levels abnormally rise in the second part of a pregnancy, it is called as Gestational Diabetes Mellitus or GDM
It automatically goes away once the baby is born. Low fat and low sugar diet helps to reduce the blood sugar levels. If a woman is diagnosed with GDM, there are chances that she doesn’t need any treatment or might need to be on a strict diet or also may need insulin injections. As this condition often occurs during pregnancy, it is not same as having diabetes pre-existing to the pregnancy. Statistics say that 5% to 10% of pregnant women may develop GDM at around 24th to 28 weeks of pregnancy.
There are no specific symptoms of getting gestational diabetes. It can only be diagnosed after getting some special blood tests. Women who have gestational diabetes have babies larger than the average size. This results to have an intervention in labor and might need a cesarean birth. The baby is however not affected by diabetes the mother is suffering from. Women who have gestational diabetes during pregnancy are said to have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the later part of their lives.
When to perform the test for gestational diabetes?
Women are tested for gestational diabetes during the second half of their pregnancy, i.e., in the 24th to 28 weeks. Women at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, if the woman:
- Is Overweight
- Has a family history of type 2 diabetes
- Is above the age of 25 years
- Has had gestational diabetes before
- Has had Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Has had a large baby before
How to test for gestational diabetes?
Mainly two tests are performed, which are:
- Glucose challenge test
- Glucose tolerance test
Treatment of gestational diabetes
Regular exercise like walking and swimming and low fat, low sugar healthy diet helps to decrease the blood sugar levels. You need to be under the guidance of an obstetrician and a dietician who would help you to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. You may need to take medicines in the form of insulin if the sugar levels do not change despite the changes in your diet and exercise regime. The insulin will surely help to bring your blood sugar levels to a normal range.
Labour and birth
Babies are generally larger than average size if born to a diabetic mother. It is recommended strongly to give birth to a child under these circumstances with the support of a trained and experienced maternity team. The babies grow in size because of the glucose present in the blood directly from the mother to the baby. To compensate the high blood sugar levels, the body of a baby produces extra insulin. This enables the baby to store more fat and tissues. It may lead to some difficulties during the birth and require the expertise of hospital team.
After the birth
After 2-3 hours of the birth, baby needs to be checked for the blood glucose levels. It is imperative to feed the baby soon after the birth, mostly within 30 minutes, which helps to keep the baby’s blood glucose level safe. The baby may need extra care if the blood sugar levels are not in safe counting’s, they may be given a drip to increase the blood glucose.
If you have had gestational diabetes, all the treatments can be stopped after the birth of the baby. You need to get regular blood sugar test done until 6 weeks of postnatal. The doctors would advise you the right kind of diet and exercise to keep yourself more healthy.