Diabetes During Pregnancy
Diabetes, as you probably know, is a condition in which your body cannot regulate blood sugar levels due to insufficient amounts of insulin. When you're pregnant, there are two ways in which you can be impacted by diabetes - First, if you have a preexisting condition of diabetes, and second, gestational diabetes or GDM.
Gestational diabetes. Is it normal? If this is the question plaguing your minds, here is what we have to say. Gestational diabetes is quite a common occurrence, affecting about 1 million Indian women every year. It is a condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin to regulate sugar during pregnancy. Certain easily observable symptoms of GDM are:
- Excess, unusual thirst
- Frequent urination
There are also some symptoms which can be identified by consulting a doctor, such as high sugar content in the urine. Pregnant women between the ages of 19 and 40 are the most likely to develop this condition.
Other factors which contribute to this are:
- Having relatives with diabetes/family history
- Being overweight/having high body mass index (30 or higher)
- Age - older women are more inclined to get diabetes
- A history of gestational diabetes
- Preexisting conditions of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
It is natural for the body to produce less insulin during pregnancy so that more glucose can be supplied to the foetus. However, it has many repercussions. GDM predisposes you to developing diabetes later on in life. It could also lead to various birth complications. For one. It could lead to a condition known as macrosomia in which the baby grows too big. This would make natural birth difficult. It would also increase the baby’s chances of developing diabetes and becoming obese later on, in childhood. Another complication that may arise is preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension. This also increases the risk of obesity and diabetes in the child. Additionally, it may cause breathing problems, low blood sugar, and jaundice.
The best way to have gestational diabetes diagnosed is by going to the doctor and getting an oral glucose screening test. High blood sugar levels on this would indicate GDM and would require a subsequent test called the oral glucose tolerance test. Once diagnosed, the best way to treat it is through a healthy, balanced diet and exercise. Medication is essential along with monitoring blood sugar levels and taking insulin injections as and when specified by your doctor.
The information that has been presented to you, thus far, highlights how gestational diabetes is a normal condition but essential to keep in check as it has negative implications on both your’s and your baby’s health. Remember to monitor your blood sugar levels throughout your pregnancy and consult your doctor at every step.