Gestational diabetes occurs in a pregnant woman who previously had no symptoms or diagnosis of diabetes. While this can be a scary situation for the mother-to-be, it’s not completely uncommon since about 4 percent of all pregnant women will end up having gestational diabetes.
All women who are pregnant end up with higher blood sugar and hormonal changes, and some will end up with hormonal changes that push their blood sugar into the realm of diabetes. If your body cannot produce enough insulin to help your body turn glucose into energy, your blood sugar will test high.
There really is no one cause, but there are indications that mothers who are overweight, suffered from polycystic ovarian disease, or have family history of diabetes are at a higher risk of developing GD.
Gestational diabetes often presents with no symptoms. It’s one reason regular screenings are done throughout pregnancy. Every time you go to your doctor for a check-up they’ll do a finger prick, and you’ll also have a glucose tolerance test at least once during your pregnancy to rule out issues.
Testing and Diagnosis
The dreaded glucose tolerance test during pregnancy is where you drink a disgusting drink that is just sugar. You can sometimes pick the flavors but it is really terrible tasting. Then you just sit and wait for about an hour. You get a finger prick or a blood draw and you’re all done. This test is usually done between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. If your test comes back questionable, you will be sent to do a longer test over a period of hours.
Treatment of gestational diabetes is much like treatment for any kind of diabetes. More tests will be done to determine if you need insulin or if you can get by with just a pill, or diet or a combination of all. In most cases you’ll be given a type of insulin either through injection or a pill. You’ll also be sent to a nutritionist to help you know what to eat, as well as be told to schedule in regular exercise that is safe for your baby.
It’s important that you don’t worry too much. With proper treatment you can avoid a lot of the complications associated with gestational diabetes and deliver a healthy normal baby. If the baby is super large, which can happen if the mother has GD, you may need to have a cesarean section to avoid further complications.
Each case is specific in the treatment based on the results of the glucose and other tests. The important thing is to do what your doctor and nutritionist tell you in this matter.