What Causes Gestational Diabetes| Blog By Dr. Monica Agarwal, Paras Bliss, Panchkula
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Gestational diabetes- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Gestational diabetes- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by: Dr. Monica Agarwal
Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology - Paras Bliss, Panchkula

Gestational diabetes is defined as high blood sugar levels in a pregnant woman who has no prior history of diabetes usually in the second half of pregnancy. Incidence is rising with time because of many reasons, lifestyle and genetics being the most important ones.

Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes in the body leading to diabetes like state and resistance to insulin. Placenta produces many insulin opposing hormones.

In our country, because of the high risk due to our ethnicity, the recommendation is of universal screening i.e. all pregnant women should be screened between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy or earlier if other high-risk factors are there. A test is usually a 75 gms glucose challenge test.

Risk factors for Gestational Diabetes:  

  • Obesity
  • History of gestational diabetes in previous pregnancy
  • History of unexplained stillbirth
  • Previous baby weight on higher side>4 kgs
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Patient with PCOS
  • Age >25
  • Overweight i.e. BMI > 30
  • Pre-diabetes

Symptoms associated with Gestational Diabetes:

Gestational diabetes usually does not have any sign or symptoms. Increased thirst or increased frequency of urination may be seen. Screening detects the disease. The test consists of a fasting sample, 1 hour and 2 hours after a measured amount of glucose. Glycosylated hemoglobin or HbA1c is also helpful to monitor long-term levels in the blood.

Obstetrician, endocrinologist, and dietician manage pregnancy with diabetes as a team.

Complications associated with Gestational Diabetes

 Uncontrolled blood glucose can lead to many complications in mother, baby and increase chances of operative delivery.

  • Macrosomia- large baby
  • Preterm birth and respiratory distress syndrome
  • Hypoglycaemia in baby
  • High BP or preeclampsia
  • Risk of diabetes in later life of both mother and baby

Prevention associated with Gestational Diabetes

Eat healthily. High fiber diet with low fat and carbohydrates

Exercise- It is a must and cannot be overlooked. Maintain a healthy weight, avoid unnecessary weight gain, moderate 30 minutes exercise in a single session or in several short sessions per day.

Treatment of Gestational Diabetes

  • Diet- A healthy diet plan drafted by a qualified dietician is the key to success.
  • Exercise – Majority of women are controlled by a healthy diet and exercise alone. A few need medical if sugar still not in control. For this insulin injection is the best during pregnancy, though metformin is also a safe drug during pregnancy. For initiating and titration of insulin, you may be admitted to the hospital where the correct dose will be calculated and you will be taught how to inject and monitor sugars. You will also be told warning signs of hypoglycemia.

Though the incidence of diabetes is rising, you can have an uncomplicated pregnancy and safe delivery if you strictly follow your instructions of diet, exercise, monitoring sugar and keep all your appointments with the doctor.

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