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What You Should Know About Gestational Diabetes

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When you are pregnant, you want to be as healthy as possible for yourself and your unborn baby. You have a lot to be concerned about, from how much weight you are gaining, to the amount of nutrition you consume on a daily basis. Another thing to think about is gestational diabetes.

This is a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. Here is more information about gestational diabetes and how it can be treated:

Who is at risk for gestational diabetes?

All pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes, but you may be screened early if you have certain risk factors. Risk factors for this condition include:

  • Obesity
  • Having sugar in your urine
  • Family history of diabetes
  • History of gestational diabetes

There are also some other risk factors that put you at risk, though they are less common. If you have given birth to a big baby, you may be at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. You might also be at risk if have had an unexplained stillbirth, have a history of high blood pressure, are of advanced maternal age, or have had a baby with a birth defect.

How do you get diagnosed?

If you have risk factors, you will start getting screened early in pregnancy, usually at the start of your second trimester. With a lot of risk factors, you might even get tested during the first trimester, and repeat the test several times over the course of your pregnancy. Other women may not get screened until the middle or end of the second trimester.

The test that checks for gestational diabetes is called a glucose test. You first drink a glucose solution, then wait about an hour and have your blood drawn. This will help doctors to measure your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is higher than the normal range, you are at a high risk for gestational diabetes, and they will perform a follow-up test. This is called a glucose tolerance test.

For this test, you fast overnight, then the following morning will drink another syrupy solution. This has a higher concentration of glucose for an accurate reading. You will get your blood sugar level checked once an hour for a few hours. If two or more readings were high, then you are diagnosed with the condition.

How is it treated?

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your blood sugar level will be monitored closely, usually checked multiple times throughout the remainder of your pregnancy. You will also be put on a strict diet to keep your blood sugar levels stable. If you are having difficulty keeping your levels in check, you may need to take insulin during your pregnancy. You will also be monitoring your own blood sugar on a daily basis.

Your baby is at risk if you do not get your gestational diabetes treated. This is because your pancreas is working extra hard to produce enough insulin, which can keep important nutrients from crossing the placenta. It is important to get tested when requested and monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.

Have more questions? Try contacting a company such as North Florida Women's Care with any questions or concerns you have.