What Causes Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy?

Gestational Diabetes and Your Baby

What Causes Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy?

 Pregnancy hormones cause the body to become resistant to the action of insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas that helps your body use fuel provided by food.

 The carbohydrates you eat provide your body with a fuel called glucose; this is the sugar in the blood that nourishes your brain, heart, tissues and muscles. Glucose is also an important fuel for your developing baby. In gestational diabetes, insulin cannot effectively transport glucose to cells that need it. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood, causing blood sugar levels to rise.

 How to Understand / Diagnose Diabetes in Pregnancy?

 Gestational diabetes is diagnosed with a blood test. After drinking a sweet beverage, your blood sugar level is measured. If your blood sugar is too high, you have gestational diabetes. Sometimes a single test is enough to make a definitive diagnosis. More often, an initial screening test is done followed by a longer evaluation.

 Gestational diabetes doesn't usually occur until later in pregnancy, when the placenta produces more hormones that interfere with the mother's insulin. Gestational diabetes screening is usually 24-28. done within weeks. But women at high risk are likely to be screened in the first trimester.

 What Are the Risk Factors for Diabetes in Pregnancy?

 A number of risk factors are associated with gestational diabetes, including:

 being overweight

 Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

 Having a parent or sibling with diabetes

 have had gestational diabetes in the past

 having glucose in your urine

 In addition, gestational diabetes is more common in African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and women with a family history of diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes and Your Baby

 Gestational diabetes can affect your developing baby in several ways:

 High birth weight Exposure to higher levels of sugar from the maternal bloodstream can result in a larger baby and higher birth weight. The baby's pancreas produces extra insulin in response to high glucose, which causes the baby to store extra fat and grow. A larger baby can make delivery more complicated for both mother and baby.

 Low blood sugar If your blood sugar increased during pregnancy, your baby may have low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, shortly after birth. The extra insulin your baby produces when his blood sugar rises continues to lower your baby's blood sugar for a short time after birth. Without a constant supply of sugar from the mother's blood, your baby's blood sugar level may go too low.

 However, this is temporary and the nurses and doctors caring for your newborn will monitor your baby carefully and treat any low blood sugar that may occur.

 Avoiding Complications

 Complications of diabetes during pregnancy can be prevented by keeping your blood sugar under control during your pregnancy. The goal of treatment is to keep your blood sugar in the normal range. Most women with well-controlled blood sugar give birth to healthy babies without any complications.

Diabetes Treatment Options in Pregnancy.


 The first step in treating gestational diabetes is to change your diet to help keep your blood sugar levels in the normal range. It's a good idea to talk to a dietitian to develop a customized eating plan to help you manage your blood sugar. You can also read Dietary Recommendations for Gestational Diabetes .

 The main dietary principles:

 Avoid high sugar foods. Avoid sweets, sweets, candies, cookies, soft drinks and juice for the rest of your pregnancy. You should eat fruit, but limit it to one small serving at a time, as fruit is high in natural sugar.

 Eat reasonable portions of high-carb foods. Carbohydrates are found in bread, cereals, rice, pasta, potatoes, beans, fruit, milk, yogurt, and some vegetables. Carbohydrate foods are converted to glucose during digestion. They are important because they contain the nutrients needed for both you and your developing baby. It's important to eat carbohydrate foods at every meal, but don't overeat.

 Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Ditch the carbohydrate foods you consume throughout the day. Reducing the serving size of carbohydrate foods eaten in one sitting means you need to eat more often to meet your pregnancy nutritional needs. Eating three small meals and three or four snacks between meals can help you reach your pregnancy diet goals without raising your blood sugar.

 Blood Sugar Monitoring

 The only way to know that your gestational diabetes is properly controlled is to check your blood sugar frequently. You will be instructed on the use of a home blood glucose monitor. You should check your blood sugar at least four times a day or as directed by your doctor.

 Check your fasting blood sugar in the morning before you eat or drink anything. Also, check your blood sugar one hour after you start eating your three main meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Consult your doctor for target blood sugar levels.

Other Treatments

 Most women who have gestational diabetes can control their blood sugar simply by changing their diet. Until your baby is born, you need to follow the dietary rules. After giving birth, most women can resume their normal eating habits. Gestational diabetes does not affect your ability to breastfeed your baby.

 For about 30 percent of women who develop gestational diabetes, dieting is not enough to control their blood sugar and they need to take insulin. Insulin is safe during pregnancy. If you are taking insulin, you will need to continue the prescribed diet and monitor your blood sugar levels.


 After your baby is born, your blood sugar will be checked to make sure it is normal. Fortunately, gestational diabetes almost always goes away after your baby is born. If your blood sugar does not return to normal, it may mean that you had diabetes before you became pregnant.

 The most important thing to remember is to check your blood sugar before getting pregnant again. Women with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Women who had diabetes before becoming pregnant have a higher risk of pregnancy complications.

 High maternal blood sugar during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when major organ systems are developing, increases the risks to the fetus. Women who have gestational diabetes can help improve their chances of having a healthy baby by getting their blood sugar back to normal before pregnancy.

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