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Gestational Diabetes

Learn more about this condition

Pregnancy, while a positive thing, can be a very precarious time for a woman's health. Even with proper diet, exercise and care, complications can unfortunately arise. Gestational diabetes is one such complication of pregnancy.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Like diabetes mellitus, gestational diabetes is a glucose intolerance which occurs during pregnancy. The risk factors for the disease include:

  • A previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Being older than 35 years of age
  • A history of polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Excessive body and facial hair
  • A tendency to getting dark patches on the skin
  • Being part of a high-risk group.

There are no real symptoms of gestational diabetes, but sometimes pregnant women can experience increased hunger and thirst, increased urination, fatigue and blurred vision. If you have these symptoms, it could just be a part of your pregnancy, but if you're concerned or in one of the risk groups for gestational diabetes, see your doctor for more information.

Risks to the baby include high birth weight (10 pounds or more) which can make birth complicated, or low blood sugar at birth, which can cause complications. High birth weight has been linked to obesity in older children.

Treatment

Diagnosing gestational diabetes is done with two blood tests to test blood sugar. Treatment includes eating regularly and healthily, and getting sugars from fruit as opposed to processed sources. A sample pregnancy gestational diabetes diet may include three meals and two snacks a day, with lots of healthy fruits, vegetables and protein, along with careful intake of fruit and sugars, and calcium. Veering from your diet during pregnancy may lead to more problems with gestational diabetes. Your doctor may send you to a dietitian to help you put together a gestational diabetes plan. You may also have to give yourself insulin shots, test your blood sugar carefully and watch your weight.

With careful monitoring, your doctor can keep gestational diabetes from negatively affecting you or your baby. Resources can be found online to help you plan your diet and stick to it so that you can bear a healthy child.

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