Gestational diabetes starts at any time during pregnancy, and it ends after delivery. It impairs the body’s ability to use glucose, thereby leading to an upsurge in blood sugar levels. In most cases, gestational diabetes starts amid the 24th to 28th weeks of gestation. The risk of developing gestational diabetes is higher in women aged above 25 years, those with excess body fat, and those with a background of diabetes.
Why should you watch out for gestational diabetes?
1. It can increase the size of your baby
Gestational diabetes can lead to macrosomia, a situation where the unborn baby is larger than the standard size. Babies with macrosomia cause agonizing discomfort to the expectant mother during the third trimester. On the other hand, the newborns can sustain birth injuries like shoulder dystocia and nerve damage.
2. Gestational diabetes can trigger preeclampsia
Gestational diabetes leads to an upsurge in blood pressure, a condition that can lead to preterm delivery, placental abruption, and organ damage. Also, expectant mothers with preeclampsia have an increased likelihood of suffering from a stroke during childbirth.
3. Gestational diabetes can lead to fetal death
Gestational diabetes decreases the circulation of nutrients to your unborn baby, thereby leading to stunted fetal growth and subsequent death. Furthermore, this type of diabetes can lead to microvascular disease, a condition that can lead to congestive heart failure, and death.
4. Gestational diabetes causes neonatal hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia occurs when a newborn’s body produces more insulin but receives low or no amounts of glucose. The insulin/ glucose imbalance can lead to brain damage, delayed development, apnea, lethargy, and other life-threatening complications. However, doctors can manage the condition through an intravenous glucose solution.
5. Gestational diabetes can lead to respiratory distress syndrome
Excess amounts of insulin and or glucose in a newborn’s system can slow down the development of lungs and other organs that make up the respiration system. Respiratory distress syndrome can lead to cyanosis, apnea, chest retractions, and other detrimental complications.
Is gestational diabetes manageable?
You can manage gestational diabetes by taking a balanced diet with fewer amounts of calories, processed carbohydrates, and fat. The diet should contain more whole grains, proteins, leafy vegetables, and fruits.
Moreover, you can manage this type of diabetes by keeping active. You can indulge in pregnancy-friendly exercises, or spend your free time gardening, walking, swimming, or biking. The moderate-intensity workouts would help you control your blood sugar levels.
Unmanaged gestational diabetes increases a mother’s risk of preeclampsia, stroke, and preterm childbirth. On the other hand, this type of diabetes can place the unborn baby at risk of neonatal hypoglycemia, macrosomia, and respiratory distress syndrome. However, one can manage the condition by eating the right meals and working out regularly.