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Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

How is Gestational Diabetes Detected?

Gestational diabetes doesn't display noticeable symptoms in some pregnant women. In this case, only a blood glucose test will detect the condition. This test is carried out during wellness clinic check-ups which is part of your prenatal care. If diagnosed, you will require more prenatal check-ups in order to keep the symptoms in check.

Due to the fact that gestational diabetes occurs during the last stages of pregnancy, the frequent check ups are likely to be scheduled later on in the pregnancy, the last three months of pregnancy. At this time, your doctor will monitor your blood sugar level as well as your baby's health.

What Should I Do When Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes?

If diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor is will refer you to a health specialists whose area of specialty is diabetes in this case, an endocrinologist. This is a diabetes educator and/or a diet specialist who helps mothers learn and manage their blood sugar for their own safety and that of the baby.

After delivery, your doctor will check your blood sugar after six months in order to ensure that your blood sugar has stabilized and returned to normal. When one is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is important that they have their blood sugar tested regularly. The frequency of the tests will be determined by the results of the first blood sugar test done after delivery.

What Are The Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

Although gestational diabetes is likely to be detected after a blood sugar test for some pregnant mothers, others will experience certain symptoms that will indicate gestational diabetes. This is especially so when the blood sugar gets too high.

The Gestational Diabetes Symptoms Include;

  • Frequent Visits To The Bathroom

This is a typical symptom of diabetes. When you have excess sugar in the blood stream, the kidneys begin to work overtime to remove them. Thus, creating higher amounts of urination.

  • Unusual thirst

A common symptom with diabetes is excessive thirst. This is regardless of the amount of water that you drink each day. The extent of the thirst varies from one patient to another. No matter how mild yours is, it is advisable that you let your doctor know immediately.

  • A Dry Mouth

With thirst, comes a dry mouth. This is another definite symptom of gestational diabetes. Some mothers-to-be experience a whitish appeal around the lips due to dryness. Others experience chapped lips which may bleed as a result.

  • Fatigue

Fatigue is common with expectant mothers especially during the last stages of pregnancy. However, mothers suffering from gestational diabetes tend to be constantly fatigued and may keep them from performing even minor activities. If you experience this, it is best that you let your doctor know.

Who Gets Gestational Diabetes?

Any woman is at risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy. However, some are at a higher than others risk especially those who;

  1. Have a Body Mass Index of 30 and above
  2. Previously delivered babies weighing 10lbs or more
  3. Have a family history of diabetes
  4. Had gestational diabetes with previous pregnancies
  5. Are of Chinese, South Asian, Middle Eastern and African-Caribbean descent
  6. Are older than 25

If you fall in one or more of these categories, it is advisable that you get screened for gestational diabetes even if none of the symptoms have presented themselves.

How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect the Baby?

Although gestational diabetes puts your pregnancy at risk, most mothers successfully deliver healthy babies. This is especially so if the diabetes was carefully monitored during pregnancy. If not well monitored and controlled, gestational diabetes will string along complications that may even call for a c-section for delivery.

Gestational diabetes effects on the baby

  • Excessive Birth Weight

This is brought about by the excess glucose in the mother’s bloodstream which crosses the placenta. When this happens, the baby’s placenta will be forced to produce excess insulin which leads to macrosomia.

This means that the baby will grow excessively big in size. These large babies usually weigh 9 pounds and above. Due to the increase in weight these babies are likely to get wedged in the birth canal. They are also at risk of sustaining injuries during birth and the mother may need a c-section to deliver.

  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Preterm Labor

The high blood sugar puts the mother at risk of premature labor hence the baby will be born before they are at term. If the baby is large, a doctor will have the baby delivered before their due date. The baby’s respiratory system is not fully developed at this time hence likely to suffer respiratory distress syndrome.

This condition makes breathing difficult for the babies thus requiring help until their lungs are fully developed, strong, and functional. This condition may also occur in babies that are born even at full term as long if the mother has gestational diabetes.

  • Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)

Babies born to mothers who suffered gestational diabetes are at risk of developing hypoglycemia after birth since their own bodies are still producing excess insulin. This may trigger seizures.

  • Type 2 Diabetes

Children born to mothers who suffered gestational diabetes are likely to suffer type 2 diabetes as well as obesity later on in life.

Untreated gestational diabetes may lead to the death of the child during birth or shortly after.

How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect The Mother?

  • High Blood Pressure

This illness puts the mother at risk of preeclampsia and high blood pressure which threaten the health of both the mother and child.

  • Diabetes In The Future

If one suffered gestational diabetes during a pregnancy, they are at risk of developing diabetes again with the next pregnancy. However, observing healthy lifestyle choices such as eating healthier foods and exercising reduces the risks of acquiring type 2 diabetes.

Final Note

It is important to note that some of these gestational diabetes symptoms are common in normal pregnancies hence not a necessary cause for alarm. If you are concerned about the symptoms that you may be experiencing, it is advisable that you consult your doctor whereby they will conduct tests to rule out gestational diabetes Mellitus and other pregnancy-related illnesses.