As November is American Diabetes Month, it’s important to raise awareness about the value of monitoring gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This type of diabetes occurs when a woman — during pregnancy — develops high blood sugar levels that affect both mother and baby.
What Is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is what develops in pregnant women who have no recorded history of diabetes before. It usually occurs around the 24-28th week of pregnancy and can affect up to 9.2% of pregnant women in the United States. This type of diabetes is due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy, which can make it difficult for insulin to regulate blood sugar levels properly.
Why Is Monitoring Gestational Diabetes Important?
Gestational diabetes, if left uncontrolled, can have serious consequences for both the mother and baby. While most women with gestational diabetes can give birth to healthy babies, there are still risks involved:
- Large Birth Weight: Babies may be larger than average due to high levels of glucose crossing over into the baby’s bloodstream.
- Preterm Birth: Women with gestational diabetes have a high risk of giving birth before 37 weeks.
- Preeclampsia: Women with gestational diabetes are known to be more likely to develop preeclampsia. This serious condition may lead to high blood pressure and damage to organs.
- Type 2 Diabetes: Women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes will also have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Hypoglycemia: Babies may experience low blood sugar levels after birth due to their body producing extra insulin to cope with high glucose levels during pregnancy.
How Is Gestational Diabetes Monitored?
Regular blood sugar checks and doctor visits monitor for gestational diabetes. Women who are at risk for gestational diabetes, such as those with a family history of diabetes or who are overweight, may be screened earlier in their pregnancy. If a woman has gestational diabetes, her doctor will work with her to create an individualized treatment plan.
Lifestyle Changes for Managing Gestational Diabetes
One of the most effective ways to manage gestational diabetes is through lifestyle changes. This may include making healthier food choices, exercising regularly, and monitoring blood sugar levels closely. Some research suggests that women who breastfeed after gestational diabetes may lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
It’s also important for women with gestational diabetes to attend all scheduled appointments and follow their recommended treatment plan.
Gestational diabetes is a serious condition that will have negative effects on both the mother and baby if not properly managed. Raising awareness about monitoring gestational diabetes during pregnancy can help ensure all pregnant women receive the care and support to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Get a Health Checkup at The Woman’s Clinic
If you are a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant and have diabetes, it’s important to monitor your condition closely during pregnancy. At The Woman’s Clinic, we offer specialized care for women with diabetes and provide support throughout your pregnancy journey.
Schedule an appointment to ensure that you and your baby receive the best necessary care during this crucial time.