Understanding Gestational Diabetes
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One of the more common conditions during pregnancy is gestational diabetes. If you don’t know too much about the condition, you can use this video s a guide to understanding gestational diabetes.
Transcript: Every year in the United States, 135,000, or 5 percent, of pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational...
Every year in the United States, 135,000, or 5 percent, of pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. To help reduce the confusion that often follows, keep watching! Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman's hormones reduce the effectiveness of her insulin. This happens only in pregnant women and is usually diagnosed between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. Let's look at how gestational diabetes develops. During pregnancy, the baby's nutrient center, the placenta, produces hormones like estrogen and cortisol that are vital to a child's development. In the last trimesters, the placenta secretes even more of these hormones to help your baby grow. Unfortunately, these pregnancy hormones can sometimes reduce the effectiveness of the mother's insulin. Without adequate insulin, blood sugar rises, resulting in the condition known as gestational diabetes. If left untreated, gestational diabetes can result in high birth weight, low blood sugar, or respiratory difficulties in your baby. Because gestational diabetes has no discernable symptoms, it's important to know if you are a high risk candidate for developing the disease. Most often, gestational diabetes occurs in women who are over 25, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, a previous history of gestational diabetes, are of non-Caucasian descent or who were overweight prior to pregnancy. If you are a high-risk candidate for developing gestational diabetes, your doctor will screen you by giving you a glucose challenge test. This involves drinking a sugary beverage and measuring blood sugar levels afterward. Levels above 140 mg/dl are considered gestational-positive. If you have gestational diabetes, you will need to monitor your blood glucose levels several times a day to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. Here are some simple ways to keep blood glucose normal. Gentle exercise, like brisk walking or swimming, is essential for women with gestational diabetes. But please ask your doctor before starting any exercise regimen while pregnant. It is also important for women with gestational diabetes to eat a healthy variety of foods. A dietician can help plan meals that are low in simple sugars and carbohydrates. Usually, regular exercise and a healthy diet will effectively treat gestational diabetes. If blood sugar remains high however, a doctor may recommend medications or insulin injections to help regulate glucose. After a mother delivers, her hormones return to normal levels and gestational diabetes usually goes away. She should still have a blood glucose test after pregnancy, to be sure that her sugar has indeed returned to the proper range. Women who develop gestational diabetes in pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future, so they need to be tested periodically throughout their lives. They also need to be diligent to lose excess body weight after delivery. If you are pregnant, ask your doctor about getting tested for gestational diabetes. Doing so will help ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and a healthy start for your child.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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