Carrying your bundle of joy in your womb is a wonderful and life-changing experience, filled with many physical and hormonal shifts. Yet, it’s a crucial time with its own set of challenges that can affect your health and your baby’s. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is one such issue that pregnant women may unexpectedly experience.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
It is a type of diabetes that can happen when a woman is pregnant. It occurs because the body can’t make enough insulin, which is needed to control sugar levels in the blood during pregnancy. This can be risky for both the mom and the baby.
What are the Effects of Gestational Diabetes on The Mother And The Baby?
When gestational diabetes isn’t taken care of properly, it can cause serious complications and issues.
For the Mom:
1. She might develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
2. She could require a cesarean section for delivery.
3. There’s a higher risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy.
For the Baby:
1. The baby might be born larger than usual, which can lead to birth injuries.
2. After birth, the baby might experience low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
3. The baby could have a greater chance of becoming overweight or developing type 2 diabetes as they grow up.
You must get the right medical advice and support during your pregnancy to ensure your and your baby’s safety along with a smooth and healthy delivery.
The Possible Causes of GDM
The exact cause of gestational diabetes is still unknown yet a few factors can be responsible, like:
- Age: If you’re older than 25, you have a higher chance of getting gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This is because your body changes as you get older, affecting how it handles blood sugar. So, if you’re in this age group, it’s important to pay close attention to your doctor’s advice on keeping your blood sugar levels in check for your and your baby’s well-being.
- Hormones: When you’re pregnant, your body changes and the placenta (connected by the umbilical cord) starts making hormones. These hormones can affect your insulin levels and can cause something called ‘insulin resistance,’ where your body doesn’t use insulin as well as it should. This might make it harder to keep your blood sugar balanced.
- Genetics: If diabetes runs in your family, it means there’s a higher chance you could get gestational diabetes when you’re pregnant. This is because some things related to diabetes can be passed down in your family’s genes. So, when you’re expecting a baby, it’s important to tell your doctor if anyone in your family has had diabetes. Your healthcare provider can then watch your blood sugar more closely and help you take care of yourself and your baby.
- Previous Pregnancy with GDM: If you had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant before, there’s a higher chance it might reappear if you get pregnant again. It’s like a pattern. So, if this has happened to you before, your doctor will be extra careful during your next pregnancy.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS and gestational diabetes are connected because both involve a problem with insulin. In PCOS, your body often doesn’t use insulin properly, so your blood sugar levels can go up. During pregnancy, all women become a bit more resistant to insulin to make sure the baby gets enough nutrients. But if you already have PCOS, this insulin resistance can be even worse.
- Obesity: If you’re overweight before getting pregnant it can make it more likely for you to have gestational diabetes while you’re pregnant. This is because having too much body weight can affect how your body handles sugar. So, if this is the case for you, you must tell your physician.
Major Symptoms of GDM
Gestational Diabetes may not always give clear symptoms of its presence. A few noticeable signs in your body can help you identify the development of this condition:
- Feeling more thirsty and needing to pee a lot more than usual.
- Feeling tired, more than the usual pregnancy fatigue.
- Getting infections more often than you used to.
- Having trouble seeing clearly, like things getting blurry
Do you suspect you have gestational diabetes? We at Dr. Sodhi’s Health Care Multispecialty Hospital & IVF Centre, the best maternity center in Chandigarh, can help you manage it to keep both you and your baby healthy.
Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes
Doctors usually check for this diabetes between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy using a test where you don’t eat overnight, and then drink a sweet drink. They then check the blood sugar levels at certain intervals.
But this may not be the same for all patients and other tests during other phases of your pregnancy can be recommended.
Glucose Challenge Test: You’ll be asked to have a sweet drink. After one hour, your blood sugar is tested. If it’s 190 mg/dL or higher, it means you have gestational diabetes.
Usually, a blood sugar level below 140 mg/dL is considered okay in this test. But if it’s higher, you’ll need the longer test (the glucose challenge one) to be sure if you have gestational diabetes.
Follow-up Glucose Tolerance Test: This test is like the first one, but the sugary drink is even sweeter, and they check your blood sugar every hour for three hours. If at least two of those checks show your blood sugar is too high, you have gestational diabetes.
Effectively Managing Gestational Diabetes
When you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it’s important to do certain things to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery:
1. Keep a Proper Diet: A dietitian can make a special eating plan for you. It’s about watching how many carbs you eat and having balanced meals.
2. Exercise Daily: Doing regular exercises can help your body use insulin better. Ask your doctor what exercises are safe when you’re pregnant.
3. Take the Right Medication: Sometimes, your doctor might give you insulin or pills to help control your blood sugar if diet and exercise alone aren’t enough.
4. Regular Check: You need to keep track of your blood sugar levels often. You can do this with a little finger stick test or by using a device that keeps an eye on your sugar levels all the time.
Besides these measures, keeping a close eye on your baby is an important part of your care plan. Your doctor may use ultrasounds and tests to monitor your baby’s overall health. If you haven’t gone into labor by your due date, or sometimes even earlier, your healthcare provider may help start labor. Going beyond your due date can increase the risks for both you and your baby.
After giving birth, your physician will check your blood sugar level. They will do this again in 2-3 months to ensure it’s back to a normal range. If your levels are normal, you’ll need to have your diabetes checked every two to three years.
Finding the Best Maternity and Fertility Hospital in Chandigarh
The doctors at Dr. Sodhi’s Health Care Multispecialty Hospital & IVF Centre hold a valuable experience of 15 years+ in treating every complication related to pregnancy. Our dedicated practice can help you easily get through the difficulties of gestational diabetes.
At our maternity clinic, we have a team of experienced pediatricians. They are here for regular baby check-ups and vaccinations in the clinic. In case of emergencies, they are available 24/7. When a baby is born, there is a dedicated pediatrician present to provide comprehensive care for both the mother and the baby.
Our medical services also extend to:
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) & IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
- Egg & Sperm Donation
- 24-HOUR Pediatric Emergency
- Level II NICU
- Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT)
- Blastocyst Transfer
- Embryo Hatching
- Surrogacy & more.
Book an appointment with us today to always experience happy and healthy parenthood.