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Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy: Questions and Answers

gestational diabetes faqs
Gestational diabetes is one of the common health issue a woman can face during pregnancy. While not everyone develops this condition, it is important to be tested to protect your health and the health of the fetus.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes mellitus, or GDM, refers to high blood sugar levels that can develop during pregnancy. While a woman with Type 2 diabetes can get pregnant, gestational diabetes is used to describe a woman that only develops high blood sugar during the pregnancy.

This treatable condition can develop with any pregnancy. Women who are overweight, have
experienced gestational diabetes in previous pregnancies, have a family history of diabetes, or
have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at higher risk.

It has also been shown that those of African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latin, or Pacific Island American descent are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes.

What Causes Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes has been linked to placenta hormones blocking the natural producing insulin from functioning as expected. Referred to as insulin resistance, the glucose within the bloodstream cannot be used for energy and builds up, causing hyperglycemia. This can be common as pregnancy stimulates an increase in insulin production.

What Are the Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes?

Unfortunately, most pregnant women develop gestational diabetes without any recognizable symptoms. For those who do develop signs, they may experience an increased need to urinate and/or an increase in thirst. This is why all pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes as these and other mild symptoms are expected during this time.

Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes

Depending on the medical history and family history of the woman, diagnostic testing may be performed at any stage of the pregnancy. Most testing is done within the 24 to 28-week mark. It should be noted that all women are tested for gestational diabetes regardless of their lifestyle, weight, and medical history.

A glucose test is performed for all pregnant women, regardless of their history. A sweetened
glucose beverage is consumed, followed by a blood test one hour later to measure the blood
glucose level.

What Risks Are Associated with Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes can pose health issues for the mother and the baby, both in the womb and after birth.

Risks for Mothers
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Increased need for a C-section
  • Vagina or perineum tears during a vaginal birth
  • Preeclampsia
  • Hypoglycemia
Risks for Baby
  • Stillbirth
  • Premature birth
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Weighing more than nine pounds at birth
  • Type 2 diabetes

How Gestational Diabetes Is Treated

Gestational diabetes is a condition that requires close monitoring of blood sugar levels. Depending on the severity, it may be managed with exercise and diet or with the help of prescribed medications. This may include insulin injections or oral medication.

Treatment of gestational diabetes is crucial as is monitoring after giving birth as the risk is increased for developing Type 2 diabetes. It is important to continue to monitor blood sugar levels up to three years after developing gestational diabetes.

How Can I Prevent Gestational Diabetes

While many cases of gestational diabetes can be caused by genetic factors, there are recommendations to reduce the chance of developing the condition for others. These include following a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, consuming high fibre and low-fat foods, and losing weight before conception if carrying overweight.

Contact ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo for Fertility Services in Kitchener Waterloo

As a leading fertility clinic, ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo offers a comprehensive family care plan for individual infertility needs. Our fertility specialists will work closely with you to monitor and care for all pregnancy conditions, including gestational diabetes.

Call us today at (519) 650-0011 to book a consultation with one of our fertility specialists about our infertility care and treatment.