Understanding Gestational Diabetes
By Francisco Anguiano, MD
August 27, 2021
Category: Pregnancy Care
Tags: Gestational Diabetes
Even if you’ve never been diagnosed with diabetes, some women can develop diabetes during pregnancy. This is known as gestational diabetes and is often diagnosed by the 24th week of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes means that your blood sugar levels are too high. If left untreated this can lead to serious complications for both you and your baby, so you must discuss your gestational diabetes with your OBGYN so that you and your doctor can create an effective game plan.
Why does gestational diabetes occur?
The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, which helps your body store sugar from food to use for energy; however, when you are pregnant the placenta also produces hormones that can impact insulin levels and lead to insulin resistance. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, this can result in gestational diabetes.
What are the signs of gestational diabetes?
It is possible for a pregnant woman to have gestational diabetes and not even know it, which is why you should keep up with prenatal visits with your OBGYN so that they can perform the necessary testing to keep both you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy and delivery.
However, it is possible to develop symptoms (particularly if you have undiagnosed diabetes before getting pregnant). These symptoms include,
- Blurry vision
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Urinating more often
Since these symptoms can also just be indicative of a healthy, normal pregnancy (aka: being hungrier than usual) these symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you have gestational diabetes. You must speak with your OBGYN about certain risk factors and keep up with your checkups so that gestational diabetes can be detected right away.
How is gestational diabetes treated?
Many women can improve their blood sugar levels through simple measures such as healthy eating, exercising regularly, managing stress, and monitoring their blood sugar levels. By controlling this issue now you can prevent gestational diabetes in the future, as well as the development of type 2 diabetes. Sometimes your doctor may also prescribe insulin medication to help control your blood sugar.
Your OBGYN’s goal is to provide you with proper care and treatment throughout your life, from general wellness checkups to post-natal and menopausal care. If you have concerns about gestational diabetes, or if you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, talk with your OBGYN about the best way to keep it under control.