Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that is brought on by pregnancy. It often goes away after the baby is delivered. Gestational diabetes occurs in about 4% of all pregnancies and can lead to premature birth or high birth weight babies.
Who is Most at Risk?
Any woman who is pregnant may suffer from Gestational Diabetes. Those who are at a higher risk are:
- Women who are obese
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Previously had gestational diabetes
- Gave birth to a stillborn
- Gave birth to a 9lb baby
- Have glucose in the urine
- Those with Ethnic backgrounds of African American, Native American, Hispanic and Asian
The symptoms of Gestational Diabetes are often the same as other forms of diabetes. These symptoms include:
- Excessive Thirst
- Excessive Urination
- Increased Appetite
- Unusual weight gain or weight loss
- Blurred Vision
- Dry Mouth
- Slow Healing Sores
- Nausea, vomiting
The natural increase of hormones during pregnancy has an effect on the blood glucose levels of the mother. As the blood glucose levels rise her pancreas should naturally increase production of insulin. If this does not occur then Gestational Diabetes sets in.
Complications Due To Gestational Diabetes
In early pregnancy this can be fatal to the fetus resulting in miscarriage or birth defects. In the second and thrid trimester it can result in large growth of the fetus. The baby can become rather large and this can cause complications during delivery. The larger the baby becomes, the more apt the mother will be to enter labor early in the pregnancy. Early labor beginning before the 26th week of gestation can lead to severe complications for the fetus and possibly death.
Over the Counter Treatments
While there are no over the counter treatments for gestational diabetes, there are foods and testing devices that can be utilized to control blood glucose levels. These include low sugar food options, zero sugar food options, low carbohydrate options and blood glucose testing devices and supplies.
Gestational Diabetes Alternative Treatments
By following a proper diet and exercise program Gestational diabetes can be controlled. It is important to eat three small meals a day and two to three snacks per day. These meals and snacks should be high in fiber and low in fatty acids. It is also important to drink at least 8 cups of liquid a day. Low impact exercise can also help control blood glucose levels.
When is Medical Advice Necessary?
During pregnancy it is always important to get the best health care possible. Prenatal care is vital to a healthy pregnancy. Gestational Diabetes will be discovered through regular examinations but if you begin showing signs of Gestational Diabetes immediately contact your doctor.
While some women can control their Gestational Diabetes with diet and exercise some may require insulin to reduce blood glucose levels. It is important to test often and follow your doctors instructions. Nutritional classes are available to help you learn how to properly take care of yourself and your baby during your pregnancy.