Gestational diabetes during pregnancy occurs when the pregnant woman has blood glucose levels that are too high. It usually goes away after the baby is born. It can cause problems with both the mother and the baby. The baby may grow too large which causes problems during delivery. The baby may be born with low blood sugar. The cause of gestational diabetes is that the placenta produces hormones that make insulin harder to work which is a form of insulin resistance.
During pregnancy, gestational diabetes can usually be controlled by diet and exercise. The mother will also need to check her blood glucose level at home on a regular basis and will need to see her doctor on a regular basis also. She may need to learn to give herself insulin injections to help to control levels of blood glucose especially when it can not be controlled by diet and exercise alone.
If a woman has already had gestational diabetes with an earlier pregnancy, she will be at risk of it developing again with future pregnancies. She will also be at risk of developing Type-2 diabetes which is one of the permanent types of diabetes. Again, the best way to prevent this is exercise and to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.
If a woman has had gestational diabetes she should avoid any medications that increase her resistance to insulin. Examples of these are nicotinic acid and glucocorticoid (prednisone and dexamethasone). It is advised to avoid progestin only birth control pills as they can raise the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. Birth control pills that contain low dose combination of estrogen and progestin do not have the added increase risk of Type-2 diabetes.
A child born to a woman who has gestational diabetes is at a greater risk of being overweight and developing Type-2 diabetes. Breast-feeding the baby can lower the risk to the baby of becoming overweight. As the child grows older, it is up to the mother to teach and encourage the child to eat healthily and to get regular exercise to prevent Type-2 diabetes. Children who are overweight, who do not eat well and who get little or no exercise are setting themselves up for an early diagnosis of Type-2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes during pregnancy occurs when the pregnant woman has blood glucose levels that are too high.
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