Gestational diabetes is different from type 2 diabetes in that it is caused by the placenta during pregnancyrather than your body becoming resistant on its own. During pregnancy, the placenta produces a hormone called human chorionic somatomammotropin or human placental lactogen (HPL), which modifies the mother’s metabolism. HPL is capable of raising your overall blood sugar level and lowering your insulin sensitivity.
Why Does Gestational Diabetes Happen?
When the body is not able to make enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the bloodstream and be converted into energy which equates to high levels of blood sugar. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed if a woman has high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, typically around the 24th week. This does not indicate the presence of diabetes before pregnancy, and it does not ensure that she will have diabetes after giving birth. Some statistics show that as many as 9.2% of all women will develop gestational diabetes. Of those, a large number of them (25.8% according to one study) will progress into type 2 diabetes within 15 years.
The Dangers And Possible Prevention Of Gestational Diabetes
While gestational diabetes does have it’s health concerns for the mother, it’s the health of the baby that is of primary concern. Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can cause the baby to grow to abnormally large birth weight and lead to delivery complications as well as problems in infancy.
Yet, there is a surprising way that has been shown to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. In a study dividing women into two groups- one that exclusively breastfed for several months and one that bottle-fed during the same period. The women who breastfed were 50% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes at the 2-year mark than the women who bottle-fed!
Meeting With The Woman’s Clinic
If you have any questions about gestational diabetes or breastfeeding and its additional benefits, the doctors at The Woman’s Clinic would love to discuss them with you. We can give you the information you need to make an informed decision that is best for you and your baby. Schedule an appointment here.