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Gestational Diabetes: symptoms, foods to eat, risks of baby

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes affects two to four per cent of all pregnancies and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child.

Gestational diabetes means diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar) first found during pregnancy. In most cases, gestational diabetes is managed by diet and exercise and goes away after the baby is born.

Gestational diabetes is also called glucose intolerance of pregnancy.

Risk for Developing Gestational Diabetes

Some of the most common risks for developing gestational diabetes are:

  • A family history of diabetes in parents or brothers and sisters.
  • Gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
  • The presence of a birth defect in a previous pregnancy.
  • Obesity in the woman, BMI greater than 29.
  • Older maternal age (over the age of 30).
  • Previous stillbirth or spontaneous miscarriage.
  • A previous delivery of a large baby (greater than 9 pounds).
  • A history of pregnancy induced high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, hydramnios (extra amniotic fluid), etc.
  • Women of Hispanic, First Nations, or of African-American decent.

Risk for babies born to mothers with Gestational Diabetes

  • Macrosomia (large, fat baby)
  • Shoulder dystocia (birth trauma)
  • Neonatal hypoglycemia (low blood sugar in the newborn)
  • Prolonged newborn jaundice
  • Low blood calcium
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Develop jaundice
  • Stillbirth
  • Die in infancy

How Is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed?

Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy when insulin resistance usually begins. If you have had gestational diabetes before, or if your doctor is concerned about your risk of developing gestational diabetes, the test may be performed before the 13th week of pregnancy.

Cure for Gestational Diabetes

A cure for Diabetes has not been found yet.  However, it can be controlled. Ways to control diabetes are: maintaining blood glucose levels, blood fat levels and weight.  Controlling diabetes is very important and should be supervised by a medical doctor.  When diabetes is controlled, it will help prevent serious complications such as: infections, kidney damage, eye damage, nerve damage to feet and heart disease.

Can Gestational Diabetes be Treated?

Gestational diabetes can be treated. Treatment involves taking steps to keep your blood glucose levels in a target range. Your blood glucose levels can be controlled by:

  • Changing your meal plan
  • Physical activity
  • insulin (if needed)

Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Gestational diabetes

  • What tests are used to diagnose gestational diabetes?
  • Can diet correct or prevent gestational diabetes?
  • What kind of diet plan should be followed and how rigid is it?
  • Will insulin injections be needed?
  • Will diabetes harm the development of the fetus?
  • Could the baby become a diabetic later on?
  • What are the chances of remaining a diabetic after delivery or becoming a diabetic later?


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