Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only pregnant women develop. Gestational diabetes affects around 4% of all pregnant women. In gestational diabetes, the woman's blood sugar is higher than normal as other hormones produced during pregnancy interfere with insulin produced normally. Generally, women enduring gestational diabetes have a normal blood sugar level through the critical first stages of their pregnancy. However, around the 26th week of pregnancy (just before 7 mths), gestational diabetes is diagnosed. Once the baby is born, this type of diabetes goes away.

Having gestational diabetes does not mean there is a risk for a baby with birth defects but complications can be caused if particular attention to diet and blood sugar levels is not taken.

Two main signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes are: excessive thirst; and increased urination.

Some complications that may affect the baby after birth are:
  • Macrosomia - Extra glucose can cross the placenta and end up in the baby's blood. When that happens, the baby's pancreas makes extra insulin to process the extra glucose, and this can cause the baby to grow too large (macrosomia). For a full-term pregnancy, this means a birth weight of 4,500 grams (9 pounds, 14 ounces) or more. Very large babies may have difficulty during delivery and are more likely to sustain birth injuries or be born by Caesarean delivery.
  • Jaundice - This involves yellowish discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes. It can occur up to 1 week after birth. Although not a disease, it should be carefully monitored by a doctor.
  • Hypoglycemia - Sometimes babies of mothers with gestational diabetes develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth.
  • Stillbirth or death.
Some complications that may affect the mother are:
  • Preeclampsia - involves a significant increase in blood pressure.
  • Operative delivery
  • Gestational diabetes in another pregnancy
  • Type 2 diabetes - women who've had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Here's a nice video on gestational diabetes....click here.

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