Gestational Diabetes – Your Questions Answered

We love to hear from our readers and lucky for us, we do so regularly. One topic that pops up quite a lot is gestational diabetes.

We love to hear from our readers and lucky for us, we do so regularly.
One topic that pops up quite a lot is gestational diabetes. Particularly from women who are experiencing their first pregnancy and find themselves feeling a bit surprised at the mention of it at all.
So who gets gestational diabetes and why? Is it genetic? Can lifestyle influence it? Is it something that continues after the pregnancy?
We’ve tried to answer all of your questions as best we could. As it turns out gestational diabetes affects more of us than you might think. Between 2% and 10% of all pregnancies.
First things first – Gestational Diabetes is very manageable and usually disappears after pregnancy.
It tends to surface during the second part of pregnancy. It is a hormonal issue whereby the placenta produces a hormone that can affect the way glucose metabolises. It can involve high blood sugar levels that were otherwise normal before you became pregnant.
There are a number of reasons why your care team may request that you are tested for the condition. In many of these cases gestational diabetes is not present and the test is precautionary.
If diabetes is in your family then you will most likely be tested for gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. This usually happens between week 24 and week 28.
Another reason why your care-team may decide to test you for the condition is your BMI.
If in early pregnancy you present with a BMI that is higher than 30 then you may be tested.
In other cases, during a routine scan your sonographer or a healthcare professional may have concerns about the baby’s size. If the baby appears to be on the larger side it may be a reason to test you for gestational diabetes. In the same way if a woman has previously given birth to a large baby then a gestational diabetes test may be recommended.
The gestational diabetes test involves a succession of blood tests over the course of a morning. You will be given a glucose drink to consume. It tastes like a very sweet lemonade. You are asked to drink the entire drink within a couple of minutes. A blood sample is then taken at hourly intervals and the results give a picture of the way your body processes sugar. If your care team are concerned about the results then you will hear from them within a couple of days.
If there is no issue then you are likely to hear nothing.
The good news is that in most cases gestational diabetes is controlled by diet alone. You will most likely be referred to a dietician who will devise your individual healthy eating plan which will involve controlling the amount of carbohydrates you eat. Exercise and activity may also be recommended.
On top of a healthy eating plan your blood sugars will be checked regularly. This involves getting a blood sample from your finger using a small device. The readings are then written down, recorded and often reported to your care team. More often than not the diet and lifestyle changes are enough to ensure the readings are normal and no further action is taken other than regularly checking the baby’s size and activity as well as the mother’s general health and well-being.
After your delivery the blood sugar levels of you and your baby will be monitored closely to ensure that insulin levels and production remain normal.
Gestational diabetes may even be something that appears in subsequent pregnancies but for the most part it is nothing to worry about and is managed very well by your care-team.
Written by Tracey Quinn, Staff Writer, with Family Friendly HQ. 

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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