Diabetes which develops during pregnancy in women is called gestational diabetes. In most cases, the women do not have any history or symptom of the disease previously. It surely does mean that having increased sugar levels, which if not checked in time, can harm the unborn child.
Gestational diabetes is a state wherein glucose intolerance is first recognised in pregnancy. Often, the symptoms start appearing in the last trimester of the pregnancy. The condition which affects at least four per cent of the pregnant women arises when the body is unable to produce the needed amounts of insulin while the woman is bearing baby.
A pregnant woman’s body secretes hormones that are needed to sustain the placenta of the foetus, which in turn do not allow the body to remain amenable to insulin by blocking its action.
When a woman is pregnant, her demands for blood sugar are high considering the body needs more energy for the developing foetus and the mother. But when the body develops insulin resistance and is unable to consume all the sugar, it causes sugar levels in the blood to shoot up leading to diabetes.
That is why, every pregnant woman is asked to undergo a blood sugar test during the entire term of pregnancy.
The high glucose content in the blood of mother is also passed on to the foetus who then has to handle breaking down of the additional sugar by producing more energy than what is required for normal development. This can pose problems for the foetuswho then becomes fat or large or overweight within the womb.
Gestational diabetes cannot be definitely linked to any particular cause. However, some commonly assumed risk factors include:
Women in the family having previously exhibited gestational diabetes, or family history of type 2 diabetes.
Women who are obese
Those who have formerly delivered an overweight baby
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is also known to cause gestational diabetes
Women who give birth in their later stages of life; when they are older
1. Eat healthy foods
2. Keep active
3. Lose excess weight before pregnancy
When to consider screening?
BMI > 30kg/m2
Previous baby with birth weight > 4.5 kg
If there is a family history of gestational diabetes
Immediate family members with diabetes
Screen at 16-18 weeks if one has suffered/suffering from gestational diabetes
75g glucose test at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy
In case one observes the symptoms, please visit Apollo Clinics for further medical advice. We have a multi-disciplinary team of experienced Endocrinologists, Diabetologists, Dieticians and Physiotherapists. Our specialists will ensure that the person with diabetes is switched to the appropriate medication right from the planning stage itself.