Pregnancy has its ups and downs, but there’s one that’s often left out of discussions: Gestational Diabetes. You probably have never heard about GDM until now so first of all, congratulations, secondly here are some facts you should know if you’re pregnant.
About one in every four pregnant women find out that they have gestational diabetes, which is a temporary form of diabetes. While any kind of diabetes can cause problems if left untreated, the woman (as well as her child) can get the proper treatment for this kind of condition and look forward to a healthy pregnancy where both will have the opportunity to prosper and grow under the guidance of their parents and with the assistance of their health care team.
Gestational diabetes is a common condition that affects 4 to 10 percent of pregnant women. It is more frequent amongst provinces with high-risk populations within their borders, especially those of African, Hispanic and South Asian descent. There are also some other known risk factors, all of them well documented by the medical industry.
Why sugars are in the blood
Sugars are used by the body for energy. They occur naturally in the blood after consuming food. Sugars can be found naturally in high carbohydrate items such as starchy foods (potatoes, pasta, grains, beans), vegetables and fruits, candy and soft drinks. The problem of diabetes arises when the body cannot process sugar due to an impaired system of controlling blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes is managed in several similar ways as other types of diabetes. The mother can control it through diet, exercise and medications such as insulin. Even so, GDM generally ends when the baby arrives. This isn’t as true for regular diabetes, which can carry on into adulthood.
Treatment of gestational diabetes
Glyburide is often used to help control high blood sugar levels. Glyburide works by helping the release of your body’s natural insulin, lowering blood glucose levels and in turn helps to prevent further complications that can result from uncontrolled diabetes.
In every normal pregnancy women are often required to follow an special easy-to-follow meal plan to provide them adequate nutrition and this is monitored by the doctor so that the amount of physical activity being placed upon a woman is reasonable based upon her expected level of activity during her time in the lap of motherhood. In addition, the right rate of weight gain will be monitored by the doctor to ensure that it’s sufficient and rate efficient for both a successful pregnancy as well as any related risk factors.
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor may recommend that you take insulin in order to maintain proper blood sugar levels during the second half of your pregnancy. Prolonged high blood sugar levels can cause problems for both mother and child, including abnormal weight gain, pre-eclampsia, shoulder dystocia and perinatal mortality for your baby.
It may be necessary to control blood sugar levels, which is a simple process done with a handheld metering device, the same as you would use every day by people with diabetes. Many people with diabetes do it in their own home and often they do so while they’re watching television or talking on the phone. It’s easy, quick, and painless. It’s valuable to know how close your glucose level is to what you need because not many of us can monitor our own blood sugar levels as often as it should be monitored or at least not as accurately either.
Recommended target levels for blood glucose during pregnancy:
The values listed below are to be used as guidelines. Always follow the advice of your doctor, they will often have many years more experience than you, and know exactly what is best for you in your specific situation. The following data is considered to be among the best known in the world, as Canada has taken a leadership role among nations related to Diabetes care by promoting good practices, education and treatment of this potentially life threatening disease.
According to a recent study conducted by Chicagos Northwestern University and published early this year, 2010, researchers claim that they would be able to lower the average blood sugar levels in North America in order to reduce the cases of gestational diabetes high blood pressure .
Target levels for most pregnant women:
Level after fasting 68.4 to 93.6 mg/dL (3.8 to 5.2 mmol/L)
Level 1 hour after eating a meal 99 to 139 mg/dL (5.5 to 7.7 mmol/L)
Level 2 hours after eating a meal 90 to 119 mg/dL (5.0 to 6.6 mmol/L)
A1c Levels 6.0 % or less
When one is fasting, it would be a good idea to make sure that around 8 hours or more have passed from the last time you’ve eaten in the evening until the following morning before beginning to eat your breakfast.
The A1c test provides a read of average blood glucose levels during the previous 120 days and averages the percentage of hemoglobin molecules that have glucose attached to them. About 35-40 percent of hemoglobin makes up the average composition of human blood.
After the arrival of the baby, that lovely bundle of joy, a warning
When a woman is pregnant, gestational diabetes has the tendency to cease. If however the blood sugar of the mother is still high during birth, and therefore even higher insulin levels would follow, then it could lead to similar complications medical staff fear when treating diabetics. This means that a baby exposed to such unusual conditions may suffer from hypoglycemia at once. In order for an occurrence like this not to happen, doctors must make certain preparations in advance such as stocking up on glucose that the baby might need in treatment if he or she should indeed experience problems stemming from a lack of blood sugar. It is wisest for birth to take place in a hospital where all things possible must be kept in mind so as to prevent problems immediately after birth.
It is normal in cases where GMD has been thought as a factor to test the blood of the new baby for glucose between 6 weeks and 6 months after birth.
Mothers who have had gestational diabetes also have a greater chance than other mothers of developing type-2 diabetes, which is a common form of diabetes. They should remember this only accentuates the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and fulfilling their daily exercise goals. It is advised that they take periodic trips to the doctor’s office to be checked for symptoms of type-2 diabetes as there are no treatments at all.
It is also recommended, in order to reduce the risk of later developing type-2 diabetes, that you breast-feed your new baby. And check with your doctor when planning another pregnancy to make sure that you’re at an optimum weight and hit all your other health targets too!