Gestational Diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman’s body is unable to regulate blood glucose levels. If you are already diagnosed with diabetes, you might want to see diabetes and pregnancy.
Although the precise causes of gestational diabetes are unknown, there is some speculation. During pregnancy, the placenta moderates the amount of hormones going to the fetus. In some cases, the placenta might also affect the mother’s ability to absorb certain hormones such as insulin.
Gestational diabetes has some similar risk factors as type 2 diabetes. Women who have a close relative who has had diabetes are at higher risk for gestational diabetes, as are obese women, and women of certain ethnic or racial backgrounds, such as African Americans, Hispanics/Latinas, and Native Americans.
Untreated gestational diabetes can have some severe risks to the child. The good news is that gestational diabetes can be managed to prevent any of these risks.
Babies can have macrosomia, or high birth weights. These high birth weights lead to a higher incidence in adolescent obesity. Babies with macrosomia might damage their shoulders during birth. Untreated gestational diabetes often leads to diabetes in the child later in life. Newborns might have high levels of insulin which can lead to low blood sugar levels or trouble breathing. There is a higher chance of birth defects if the mother has diabetes.
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes will work with their health care providers to monitor their blood sugar levels to prevent complications for both the mother and child. Treatment might include a fixed diet and exercise regime. After pregnancy, most women no longer need to be treated for diabetes.
Immediately after pregnancy, 5-10% of women discover they have type 2 diabetes. Even if they do not have type 2 diabetes, up to half of them might develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Even if you have had gestational diabetes, you can still make some healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
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