Gestational Diabetes

Expecting Moms! Beware Of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. It happens because of carbohydrate intolerance of variable severity that starts or is first recognized during pregnancy. It is also called glucose intolerance of pregnancy. Two to four per cent of all pregnancies get affected by it. It involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child.

It may also be termed as diabetes mellitus, (high blood sugar) found during pregnancy. Proper diet and exercise can control gestational diabetes. Normally, this condition goes away after delivery. All pregnant women should be screened for gestational diabetes during the 24th and 28th weeks of their pregnancy. The symptoms are usually mild and there is no threat to the life of the pregnant woman.

But, increased maternal glucose (blood sugar) can result in complications in the baby including large size at birth, birth trauma, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and jaundice. On rare occasions, fetus dies in the womb late in the pregnancy.

Maintaining control of blood sugar levels reduces the risk to the baby. Its symptoms are similar to other diabetes symptoms such as, increased thrust, excess urination, weight loss, fatigue and alike. Nausea, vomiting and frequent infections of bladder, vagina and skin also indicate the presence of gestational diabetes.

Treatment usually aims at maintaining blood glucose levels within normal limits during the duration of the pregnancy and at ensuring the well-being of the fetus. With the help of electronic fetal monitor baby's normal heart functioning could be checked.

Dietary management is of crucial importance to provide adequate calories and nutrients required during pregnancy and to control blood glucose levels. If dietary management does not control blood glucose levels within the recommended range, insulin therapy should be used.

Up to 40 % of women with gestational diabetes develop full-fledged diabetes within 5-10 years after delivery. The risk may be increased in obese women. It may also give way to complications such as low blood glucose and even death of new born, in extreme cases.

Risk factor for developing this disease is highest among those women who have a diabetic family history, who have experienced it at previous pregnancy or suffered miscarriages.

All expecting mothers should be aware of this disease to ensure a safe delivery for their baby, free of complications arising out of gestational diabetes.