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What to Know About Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It happens when the body isn’t producing enough insulin during the pregnancy, and typically occurs between the 24th and 28th weeks. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, your blood’s sugar levels will spike and cause gestational diabetes. 

Here are a few things to know about this health condition.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes are not always obvious. Symptoms may include blurred vision, strong thirst, consistent need to urinate and yeast infections. There are some conditions that will increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes, which include high blood pressure, being overweight or a family history of diabetes.

How gestational diabetes is discovered

Doctors make it a part of their obstetrics care to screen for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. You may be given a glucose solution to see how your body reacts.

 If you have diabetes in your family – or indications of high blood sugar levels – a doctor will screen you earlier in the pregnancy.  

Treatment for gestational diabetes

Treatment will be dictated on your blood sugar levels during the day. You will most likely be referred to a diabetic educator who will instruct you on how to test your blood sugar before and after meals with a glucose monitoring device. It’s important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Insulin injections may also be necessary until the child is delivered. If not properly treated gestational diabetes can increase the chance of complications for mom and the baby during the pregnancy and delivery.

The diagnosis is not permanent

Having diabetes during your pregnancy doesn’t mean you’ll continue to have it after childbirth. However, it does raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. 

Preventative care

You should always make good eating habits part of your lifestyle, however, if you are trying to get pregnant it is especially important to be healthy and strive to prepare your body for pregnancy as best you can. That includes eating well, trying to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your day, and weight loss if you are overweight. Your doctor can also make recommendations based on your history and current health status.

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