Health - Diabetes and pregnancy, Gestational diabetes

Diabetes and pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes is a form of Diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. If you have never had Diabetes before but diagnosed with high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, you have gestational Diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes is a temporary phase and goes away in a few weeks after you deliver your baby. With good care your blood sugar levels will return to normal after childbirth.

The symptoms of gestational Diabetes are not too noticeable although in some women it may be observed as excessive thirst and/or frequent urination.

When and how does gestational Diabetes occur?
Gestational Diabetes typically occurs during the later phases of pregnancy but sometimes it can occur as early as the 5th month (2nd trimester)

The process leading to gestational diabetes

1. The food you eat is broken down into various sugar molecules, one of which is glucose.
2. Glucose is the fuel that is responsible for providing energy to your body.
3. Insulin, a Hormone which is secreted by your pancreas, allows glucose to enter your cells, thereby providing you with energy.
4. During pregnancy, the placenta, which is an organ that passes on nourishment to your growing baby, also produces certain hormones that are necessary to help your baby grow and sustain your pregnancy.
5. These hormones released by the Placenta cause the Cells to become "anti-insulin" whereby enough Insulin does not enter your cells, depleting you of energy.
6. As your pregnancy progresses, the Placenta grows larger and produces more of these hormones, further worsening the situation.
7. To overcome this problem, the pancreas produces additional insulin, but sometimes the pancreas is not able to continue producing more Insulin for long.
8. As a result of this your Cells begin to get too little glucose.
9. The glucose unabsorbed by the Cells accumulates in your bloodstream resulting in gestational Diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes can occur to any pregnant woman. However, certain women are more at risk. The following factors will help you know if you are particularly at risk.

Risk factors for gestational diabetes

1 Your health history: Your risk is more if you already have some signs of approaching Diabetes while or before your pregnancy. This condition is known as preDiabetes. The chances of getting gestational Diabetes are also more if you had it in one of your previous pregnancies.
2 Family history: Your risk of Diabetes increases if your parents, siblings or close family member has Diabetes.
3 Age: Women above 25 years are more commonly reported to develop gestational Diabetes.
4 Obesity: Being overweight before and during pregnancy increases your risk of developing Diabetes.
5 Race: Women of certain races are more prone to gestational Diabetes. For example, Asian and Black women are more commonly at risk than women of other races.

Handling gestational diabetes
You are bound to feel highly stressed in case you have just been diagnosed with gestational Diabetes. High levels of stress can worsen blood sugar levels. Anxiety and restlessness may make you less physically active and you may find yourself indulging in foods that can do more harm to your condition. Remember eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can help relieve stress and nourish your baby. These activities can also help prevent type 2 Diabetes in future. Exercise and good nutrition will help you have a healthy pregnancy as well as a healthy life.

Weight control
It is not advisable to opt for weight loss during pregnancy, even if you are overweight. However, women with gestational Diabetes should exercise in order to lower the risk of developing Diabetes again. Your doctor will prescribe the right diet and exercise for you to follow after you deliver your baby.

In conclusion
Pregnant women with diabetes, most often deliver healthy babies if their Diabetes is controlled and treated. But, untreated or uncontrolled levels of blood sugar can lead to various complications. Follow your doctor’s advice strictly. Remember, your doctor knows what is best for you.

The topic on Health - Diabetes and pregnancy is posted by - Sathya

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