Diabetes developed during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. As other types of diabetes, this condition is also a serious medical problem because of increase of sugar in blood. Elevated blood glucose is health threat for both mother and unborn child. However, this problem can be controlled and in most pregnant women blood sugar gets back to normal after pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes increases the risk for excessive birth weight, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), jaundice, preterm birth and respiratory distress syndrome in unborn child. This condition may also be a cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in child’s life.
Excess birth weight may be associated with gestational diabetes and such babies may stuck in the birth canal, experience some birth injuries because of that or require C-section.
Hypoglycemia is another condition that may develop in babies because of overproduction of insulin. If the problem is very serious babies may suffer from seizures, but the condition is treatable with prompt feeding and IV (intravenous) glucose. Baby’s skin and eyes may turn to yellow and the child may develop jaundice if the mother suffers from gestational diabetes. This condition requires monitoring but usually does not require any serious treatment.
Delivery of the child before the term (end of 40 weeks of pregnancy) is known as preterm birth and can be associated with gestational diabetes. Those babies may develop respiratory distress syndrome because their lungs have not developed completely yet, so they may require some help to breathe.
Besides being the problem for the baby, diabetes in pregnancy complicates mom’s health, leading to hypertension (high blood pressure), preeclampsia, eclampsia and increasing the risk for development of diabetes after pregnancy as well. Preeclampsia and eclampsia are serious problems connected with gestational diabetes which may become life-threatening for both, the mother and unborn child if left untreated.
How to Prevent Gestational Diabetes?
Healthy lifestyle before pregnancy is probably the best known and most successful method to prevent gestational diabetes. Eating healthy food, rich in fibers, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains is good for your health. Avoid eating fatty and high calorie food.
If you are overweight, try to lose excess weight before pregnancy, because that will certainly help you to be healthier during this period of your life.
Strive to be active and exercise before and during your pregnancy. Pick something you can do and engage in 30 minutes of some physical activity every day to prevent health problems and development of gestational diabetes.