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Gestational Diabetes – Causes, Risk Factors & Management

Gestational diabetes Causes

If you want a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, you should know what gestational diabetes is and how to manage it when it develops during pregnancy.

Approximately 10 to 15% of pregnancies in India are affected by gestational diabetes. Women who were healthy prior to their pregnancies can develop a type of diabetes during pregnancy. This type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes.

In other words, diabetes diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. This is the same as other types of diabetes in terms, of its effects on the usage of glucose by your cells. When blood glucose levels shoot up during pregnancy, they affect both your pregnancy and your baby’s health.

What causes gestational diabetes?

Gestational Diabetes causes: The exact reason or cause of gestational diabetes is unknown, but researchers believe that excess body weight before pregnancy, unhealthy food habits, and a sedentary lifestyle could play a role. In addition, several hormones work together to keep blood glucose levels in check. But, during pregnancy blood glucose levels change due to changes in the levels of hormones.

What are the risk factors for gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes Risk Factors

  • Prediabetic condition
  • Sedentary lifestyle before and during pregnancy
  • Obesity or excess body weight
  • A previous history of gestational diabetes
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • A previous history of giving birth to a heavy baby
  • Being Indian, American, Black, or Hispanic
  • Having an immediate family member with diabetes

What are the complications?

Excess birth weight of the baby increases the risk of complications during delivery or may need a C-section.

When the baby becomes large, the risk of early labor and preterm delivery increases. An early cesarean may be recommended if the baby’s size is large.

Gestational diabetes causes breathing difficulties in babies who are born early. The condition is known as respiratory distress syndrome.

Hypoglycemia or Low Blood sugar – This condition can develop in some babies shortly after birth. The risk of seizures and other complications may increase in such cases.

Babies can have a higher risk of developing other conditions, obesity or type 2 diabetes later in life.

Untreated gestational diabetes causes serious health issues as it may cause stillbirth or baby death either before or immediately after birth.

Complications that may affect the mother

C-section or surgical delivery – women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have C-section as normal delivery becomes difficult due to a big baby.

High blood pressure and preeclampsia – both these conditions are serious for both the mother’s and baby’s life.

Diabetes – the future risk of gestational diabetes is high during a future pregnancy. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes also increases many times as a woman gets older.

How to manage gestational diabetes?

When it comes to any type of diabetes, there are only two factors to manage – your diet and physical activity levels. As far as gestational diabetes is concerned – a balanced diet regimen is a key factor to manage. You can talk and discuss your problem with your gynecologist as she will help you in identifying the best foods and give you proper meal ideas to implement.

As far as the second factor is concerned, discuss with your gynecologist which type of activity or exercise is good for you and your baby for a safe pregnancy.

Foods to eat – high fiber and low calories and protein foods– whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Ask your experts for portion sizes.

Manage weight during pregnancy by starting pregnancy at a healthy weight. Don’t gain excess weight than recommended during pregnancy.

Bottom Line

Many women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy worry that their diabetes would continue after their child’s birth. In general, in the majority of the cases, blood sugar levels usually come to the normal range within 6 weeks after delivery. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Such women should pay attention to their sugar levels and get tested more often.

Your action is crucial. Are you ready to take action? If you take action you will stay on top and can manage your condition well. Always remember that gestational diabetes is manageable, treatable, and winnable. Meet me if you have any other concerns about gestational diabetes causes.

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