Each and every woman is thoroughly monitored during pregnancy. Only this way a doctor may notice certain changes on time and control/ treat them. Every pregnant woman undergoes routine tests at the particular part of the pregnancy. One of the most common tests that are frequently performed are complete blood count and test for the level of sugar in blood. The level of sugar in blood must be within determined range and if it is increased it points to the presence of gestational diabetes.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects previously healthy women and features with high glucose levels during pregnancy. The condition does not have to produce any symptoms and signs at all and is most commonly found during a routine blood test. It is estimated that gestational diabetes affects only a small number of all pregnant women.
Babies of mothers suffering from gestational diabetes are at increased risk to be large for the gestational age (a possible complication). They are also at risk to have a low blood sugar and jaundice.
Who is at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?
Some pregnant women are at higher risk for gestational diabetes. This particularly refers to obese women, women who smoke (especially women who have been heavy smokers), women older than the age of 30 and women from an ethnic minority. The risk is also high among women with a family history of diabetes as well as those with previous history of the birth of a large baby (more than 4.5 kg).
What are Potential Consequences of Gestational Diabetes?
Some research has confirmed that babies of the mothers suffering from gestational diabetes are larger than other babies and that in such pregnancies there is a higher chance for birth defects. A baby usually produces the excess of insulin as a response to increased level of glucose in mother's blood. This can cause hypoglycemia of the baby after it is born.
What is more, in women who had been suffering from diabetes prior they got pregnant there is an additional risk for serious complications such as hypertension, kidney problems, nerve damage and retinopathy.
One more risk associated with gestational diabetes is the actual onset of type 2 diabetes. The condition may develop within 10-15 years after the pregnancy.
Management of Gestational Diabetes
The goal of the treatment for gestational diabetes is to bring the increased levels of glucose down and keep them within a normal range. This can be achieved with lifestyle changes and medications. The doctor chooses the best option for each pregnant woman. A woman undergoes repeated OGTT 2-4 months after delivery. The test gives information on whether the level of glucose has returned to normal. And finally, women suffering from gestational diabetes must undergo the regular screening test for type 2 diabetes.