What is Gestational Diabetes? Gestational diabetes is a condition experiencedby pregnant women who develop high blood sugar, or glucose, levels.
It is usually diagnosed by the 28th week.
Nearly four percent of pregnant women arediagnosed with gestational diabetes, which equals approximately 135,000 women in theUnited States annually.
Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman’spregnant body cannot produce and utilize the insulin it needs for pregnancy correctly.
As a result, the unused glucose increasesand compounds in the blood and results in hyperglycemia.
Although the exact cause of gestational diabetesis not known, it may have something to do with the fact that normal pregnancy hormonesfrom the placenta block the process insulin goes through in the mother, resulting in insulinresistance.
Because gestational diabetes develops laterin a pregnancy, it usually does not affect the baby in terms of birth defects.
If the condition is treated incorrectly, thebaby can end up with high levels of glucose in his or her blood.
The baby, in turn, churns out extra insulinfrom the pancreas to counteract the high glucose.
The extra energy the baby gets as a resultof the overproduction of insulin results in stored fat.
As a result, babies born to mothers with gestationaldiabetes tend to have higher birth weights.
Gestational diabetes can lead to an elevatedrisk of injury to the baby during delivery, breathing problems, obesity and developmentof type 2 diabetes later in life.
Treatment of gestational diabetes includeslowering blood glucose levels through strict diet and exercise.
Constant glucose monitoring, and possiblyinjections of insulin, may also be prescribed.
Fortunately, gestational diabetes usuallyresolves itself with delivery.
Risk factors for developing gestational diabetesinclude obesity, previous history of diabetes, family history of diabetes, age over 30, highblood pressure and frequent urinary tract infections.
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