Gestational Diabetes and how it can be treated

Posted by Sara Baker on

What is Gestational Diabetes?

This type of diabetes is generally diagnosed during cases of pregnancy. As in the case of Type 1 and Type 2 of this disease, gestational diabetes will cause levels of blood glucose to climb higher than the normal range. When pregnant women eat, their digestive system is likely to break down majority of what they are eating into glucose; it enters their bloodstream so the cells can utilise it in the form of fuel. A hormone called insulin is then created by the pancreas which along with fat and muscle helps in the absorption of glucose from the blood. If the body is not able to produce sufficient insulin or when the cells are unable to respond to it, a high dose of glucose will remain in the blood rather than moving into the body cells and eventually being converted into energy.

In cases of pregnancy, body tends to become resistant to production of insulin; this happens because the body needs extra glucose to give nourishment to the baby. This does not become a big problem because when the body requires extra insulin for processing more glucose in the bloodstream, the pancreas helps in secreting more quantities. If the pancreas is not able to keep up with this increased demand during pregnancy for insulin, the levels of blood sugar will rise alarmingly as the cells are not able to use the glucose. The result is gestational diabetes. This condition has to be recognised fast and treated quickly as it may pose health issues for both the baby and the mother. It has to be noted that gestational diabetes is not a permanent situation. After the birth of the baby, the blood sugar levels of the mother may return back to normal within a reasonable amount of time. However, gestational diabetes could trigger symptoms in the body for leading to diabetes mellitus in the future. Gestational diabetes also brings in other problems such as pre-eclampsia and hypertension.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

In most cases, there are no obvious symptoms or signs. Gestational diabetes will most probably be identified during routine screenings during the pregnancy. Common symptoms that show up include feeling thirsty throughout the day, even after drinking water, resulting in the mouth getting dry and the expecting mother would need to keep going to the toilet, all the time. She may develop recurrent infections and that includes thrush.

Treatment of Gestational Diabetes

Once a pregnant woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, she will be looked after by midwives on a regular basis along with the doctor attending to her. Blood glucose levels are checked regularly and targets would be set for bringing the levels down. The concerned patient would be given good doses of vegetables and fruits. They will be fed foods that are low in fat along with starch and carbohydrates. Sugar and salt will be restricted in order to manage such cases of pregnancy diabetes. Medication will also be prescribed to control the blood glucose levels. Based on the intensity of these levels, the treatment may involve oral medication or insulin injections.

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