Expectant moms have plenty to be excited about as they get ready for the joys of motherhood. But pregnancy is not without its challenges and risks, as any mother knows. One of those risks is gestational diabetes. Effecting between three and eight percent of pregnant women in the United States, this condition does not typically cause congenital disabilities, but it can increase the possibility of complications for mother and child alike.
That is why pregnant women need to recognize the signs and symptoms that could indicate gestational diabetes. By getting timely diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment, any dangers can be minimized, and new moms begin their parental journey healthily and happily.
What Is Gestational Diabetes?
During pregnancy, hormones released from the placenta can interfere with how well insulin is able to store glucose in muscle and fat cells. This can cause glucose levels in the blood to rise. If those levels rise too high, it can lead to gestational diabetes. This condition happens because the insulin the mom produces to control those levels can no longer do its job sufficiently.
The first signs of gestational diabetes, if any, usually manifest themselves in the second trimester, around the 20–24th week of pregnancy. Often, women experience no noticeable symptoms beyond increased thirst and a need to urinate more frequently.
While blood sugar levels in most pregnant women with gestational diabetes return to normal after the baby is born, about half of women who have gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later in their lives.
Obesity is perhaps the most significant risk factor for the development of gestational diabetes. Other things that can increase the likelihood of the condition include:
- a family history of diabetes
- previously giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- having a baby at or after age 25
- having pre-diabetes
Complications Related To Gestational Diabetes
Even without symptoms, gestational diabetes can put both the mother and child at risk of serious complications. These can include:
- early birth
- high birth weight
- low blood glucose after birth
- breathing problems
- miscarriage or stillbirth
Diagnosis and Treatment of Gestational Diabetes
Using blood tests to measure blood glucose levels, doctors will usually check for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. If they find that the mother has the condition, they may recommend several treatment options to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range. These can include changes to diet, increased physical activity, and medication.
Of course, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is an essential part of staying healthy for anyone living with diabetes, even temporarily.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a tested, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes stay in control of their condition and their lives without the need for inconvenient and burdensome finger-pricking multiple times a day.
Ask your doctor about CGM and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.