Gestational diabetes is a serious health issue for women who are pregnant. Even though gestational diabetes only affects an estimated 4%-7% of pregnant women, it is something to be concerned about.
Doctors really are not sure what causes gestational diabetes, and the closest pediatricians can determine involves the placenta. The hormones in the placenta are responsible for the babys development. However, should these hormones become blocked, the mothers body is deprived of the injected insulin it needs. This is scientifically called “insulin resistance.” This hormonal blockage makes it difficult for the mothers body to use the insulin that is being injected in her.
Why would insulin need to be injected? As a result of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs when the mothers body is no longer able to make the insulin that is required for her pregnancy. This shortage of insulin prevents glucose from leaving the blood. Glucose must leave the blood in order to convert to the necessary amount of energy required by the mother and her baby. Should the glucose build up in the blood to a high level, hyperglycemia will occur.
What are the side effects for the baby when hypoglycemia occurs? It depends on when the mother has the ailment. If she is in her late trimester, when the babys body has already been formed, she can consider herself and her baby very lucky. At this late stage, it is unlikely that the baby will suffer any kind of birth defect whatsoever.
However, should she have gestational diabetes when the pregnancy is less than six months old, the baby may very well have problems when it comes to body formation. This is because the mothers pancreas must function twice as hard in order to produce the needed insulin for her and the baby. When glucose gets stuck in the blood, then other nutrients are also stuck. Extra blood glucose now seeps into the placenta. The effects of gestational diabetes will now cause the baby to have high blood glucose levels, which will slowly become fat.
The results of this added fat are referred to as “Macrosomia,” or what is known to be an overly fat baby. As a result of the additional insulin being created by the babys pancreas, a newborn will tend to have a really low blood glucose level at birth. This condition puts the baby at a higher risk when it comes to potential breathing problems. These babies are prone to obesity, and their mothers will most likely be affected by type 2 diabetes.
Treatment for this condition must begin immediately after the problem is discovered. Successful treatment for gestational diabetes will result in a lowering of blood glucose down to normal levels.
Treatment consists of a special diet containing just the right amount of sugar, along with a regular exercise program whenever possible. Daily testing of blood glucose, and regular insulin injections are also necessary.
Your doctor should test you for gestational diabetes at around 26 weeks of pregnancy. For most women, this will never be an issue, but for others who do get it, by following your doctor’s advice and following a special diet, you shouldn’t have any further difficulty.