Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that only women can get. If a woman has never had type 1 or type 2 diabetes but is having high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, she is most likely going to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes is common in pregnant women, with about 18% of pregnancies resulting in gestational diabetes usually around the 2nd trimester. While it is common and the pregnant woman will need to watch what she eats during pregnancy, it will go away shortly after giving birth.
Causes of Gestational Diabetes
While there is no single cause of gestational diabetes, there are some risk factors. Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman’s pregnancy hormones block insulin and increase glucose levels in her blood. It is common among pregnant women, but not all pregnant women will get gestational diabetes. Risk factors include women who are older than 25 when they get pregnant, have a family history of diabetes, previously gave birth to a baby over 9 pounds, had a miscarriage or stillbirth in the past, were overweight when they got pregnant, have too much amniotic fluid, or have high blood pressure.
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
There are few symptoms of gestational diabetes as most women don’t know they have it until their next appointment. Some of the symptoms associated with this type of diabetes are blurry vision, increased thirst, fatigue, increased urination, nausea and vomiting, frequent bladder or vaginal infections, or significant weight loss even without a change in appetite.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor will check for signs of gestational diabetes at your 2nd trimester doctor’s appointment, which is around the 24th or 25th week of pregnancy. They will check your blood pressure, which may indicate a sign of this type of diabetes. An oral glucose test will also be performed which screens pregnant women for gestational diabetes. It is a standard test for most pregnant women, so even if you don’t show signs of the condition, you will most likely be tested for it. The main treatment plan for gestational diabetes is to monitor your blood glucose levels and try to keep them as low as possible. This includes monitoring you and your baby very closely during your pregnancy. Your baby’s size will be monitored closely and you will need to have your blood glucose levels checked on a regular basis. You can expect the gestational diabetes to disappear shortly after giving birth.