Updated: Jul 18, 2022
How is gestational diabetes different from other kinds of diabetes?
What you have to understand is that diabetes is the rise of sugar levels in the blood, which the body is not able to compensate for. We have a hormone called insulin which helps in decreasing our blood sugar levels, if we do not have enough insulin to reduce the sugar levels, the sugar levels rise, and is termed diabetes.
This is in general what is diabetes. With respect to gestational diabetes, gestational means being in the pregnant state, if you are pregnant and you get diabetes, it is termed gestational diabetes. If you had diabetes before your pregnancy, then it is not termed gestational diabetes.
If for the first time you have been diagnosed to have diabetes during your pregnancy, then it is said to be gestational diabetes. After pregnancy, that is after childbirth if you are diagnosed as diabetic, then it is not gestational diabetes but it falls under type 2 diabetes.
In this article, you will read about -
Is gestational diabetes genetic?
There is no conclusive study that says gestational diabetes is genetic. But the chances are high if any of your close relatives are diabetic, then maybe during pregnancy, there is a probability of gestational diabetes but not a hundred percent because the combination of lifestyle and genes together attributes to diabetes or gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms or are there any symptoms for gestational diabetes?
That is the tricky part, whether it is general diabetes or gestational diabetes, most of them do not show any visible symptoms unless the glucose sugar level reaches a high point. Only then do people start noticing some symptoms that are no different than their normal body responses.
But some people do complain of increased thirst, recurrent urinary infections, there is increased hunger, if you feel something different in your body, then you let your doctor know about it so that you will be guided in the right direction.
Especially during pregnancy, or before you conceive, you get yourself checked once so that you know what your body condition is.
Can gestational diabetes have an effect on the baby?
Gestational diabetes alone does not cause any deformities in the baby, because already the organs are formed and in most women gestational diabetes comes in later stages of pregnancy.
But, if the glucose levels are high in the body, then the same glucose goes to the baby as well through the placenta. This can lead to fat accumulation in babies, so the weight of the baby could be on the higher end, which in turn can be difficult during the childbirth as the chances of vaginal birth in this situation reduce, and in case of vaginal birth, the big babies may have trauma to the shoulders while coming out because of their size.
Can lifestyle changes have an impact on gestational diabetes?
Your lifestyle changes should start before conception, or when you start planning for pregnancy. If you are planning your pregnancy, you have to work towards a healthier lifestyle, moderate weight gain, conscious eating, exercise regularly, and take care of your health is the only way to prevent gestational diabetes.
Women who are obese or overweight should focus on weight management before conceiving, or once they start planning for pregnancy, because during pregnancy you cannot focus on losing weight. If you are already overweight then, during pregnancy the weight gain can increase rapidly. Exercise alone does not help you in weight reduction, exercise along with your diet can help you.
What are the risks involved during labor because of gestational diabetes?
When a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, there are high chances of bigger babies. The fluid(amniotic fluid) around the baby in the womb increases, this state is called polyhydramnios, and pregnancies with this condition do not go till 9 months. There are high chances of premature delivery.
Then you would have to take medications for the lung maturation of the baby. Women also have low chances of vaginal birth due to gestational diabetes. It is not necessary that all women who have gestational diabetes go through C-section but the chances are high.
You have to constantly keep a check on your glucose levels, before food, after food, your diet restrictions increase, especially during the last trimester when your belly is also big, constant checking of glucose, and medication can take a toll on your mental health as well.
As the baby was getting more glucose than it actually needed, the baby’s body starts producing more insulin to control the glucose levels, and this could lead to low glucose levels in the baby once the baby is delivered.
Tips to keep a check on your food intake -
Do not eat for two! Yes, you are giving food to your baby as well, but still, it is only you who is eating, so eat how much you can.
Our body is such that, it tries to adapt to every situation, it tries to its maximum possibility before giving up. So, just because your body can digest whatever you are eating does not mean your body is using all the food you eat. Whatever your body is not able to digest, it gets accumulated. So, what is accumulated is extra and that is what you can see when the accumulation is more.
Keep a check on your calories. If you are eating calorie-dense food then the quantity has to be reduced. Every individual needs are different. Based on your day-to-day activities, your calorie intake can be measured.
If you feel you are not able to decide on how many calories you might need. Go to an expert and understand your body's needs and then you can mix and match the food items accordingly.
Do not be scared of gestational diabetes. Sometimes even if your weight, food, and all other conditions are normal, still some women get it and it may be because of genes and there is nothing much you can do but take medications. For most women, gestational diabetes does not continue after childbirth unless there is some underlying condition.
Yes, there is a chance that it can continue after childbirth, so it is better to take necessary actions before you get it so that it is easier for you to go through pregnancy.
**HBA1C is the blood test to check your detailed glucose levels**
Who are at risk of getting gestational diabetes?
It can be genetic, but not always.
Women who are overweight or obese have a high risk of gestational diabetes.
Your lifestyle also matters. If there is no history of diabetes in your family but you get it then it can be because of your lifestyle habits.
Women with PCOD are at risk.
There are studies that say women above 30 years are at risk of gestational diabetes.
This is to give you an idea and these studies are not done considering every family. But women with the above-mentioned background are at higher risk category for gestational diabetes. You should know that diabetes is a metabolic disorder and it involves the complete body. You can check safe exercises to practice during pregnancy.
High glucose levels in the body can affect other organs as well. Because we are talking about glucose levels in the blood, and wherever the blood flows, it can affect that part!
Lastly, diabetes or gestational diabetes is completely reversible with your will and commitment to work towards reversing it. Take care!
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