What Is Gestational Diabetes

what is gestational diabetes diabetes is a condition where the levels of glucose in the blood are too high gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy affecting approximately five to nine percent of all pregnancies in gestational diabetes blood glucose levels in the woman are raised above the normal ranges for pregnancy after the baby is born the mother's blood glucose levels usually return to normal to help us to understand gestational diabetes let's have a look at how our body usually uses carbohydrate foods and balances our beloved Blucas levels over the day food is made up of carbohydrates fats and protein these nutrients are digested into smaller parts which are used by the body for different purposes carbohydrate foods are broken down to glucose which is absorbed into the bloodstream in response to rising blood glucose levels the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin which allows glucose to be transported from the bloodstream into ourselves to be used as energy you can think of insulin like a key opening the door to let the glucose into the cell because the body likes to have a certain amount of glucose in the bloodstream the pancreas will release more insulin when blood glucose levels are high any excess glucose is stored in the liver or muscle this stored glucose is released when blood glucose levels start to drop too low this usually happens between meals and overnight blood glucose levels range from four to eight millimoles a liter in people without diabetes you may have recently been diagnosed with gestational diabetes the following information will explain why this is happening the placenta is an important organ during pregnancy that allows oxygen of food to pass from you to your baby the placenta produces hormones that help your baby to grow and develop these hormones also interfere with the action of the mother's insulin leading to insulin resistance during pregnancy you need to produce two to three times more insulin to overcome sealin resistance if the body is unable to produce the extra insulin required too much glucose will stay in the bloodstream leading to gestational diabetes once your baby has been born your insulin requirements will return to normal there are usually no symptoms associated with gestational diabetes therefore it is very important to be screened screening for gestational diabetes involves an oral glucose tolerance test most women are screened around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy as at this stage hormone levels are higher than they were earlier in the pregnancy diagnosis at this stage allows time to manage your blood glucose levels in order to manage the baby's growth and prevent complications some women may be screened earlier than the 24th to the 28th week if they are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes you are at risk of developing gestational diabetes if you are over 30 years of age have a family history of type 2 diabetes are above for your healthy weight range have had gestational diabetes with the previous pregnancy are an indigenous Australian or Torres Strait Islander or are from Indian Chinese Vietnamese middle-eastern Polynesian or Melanesian background most women with gestational diabetes can have a healthy baby if blood glucose levels are kept within a safe range if left untreated high blood glucose levels can cause health problems for you and your baby let's have a look at how high blood glucose levels can affect you and your baby glucose in your blood crosses the placenta therefore if your blood glucose levels are high your baby's blood glucose levels will also be high because your baby produces insulin from an early stage if their blood glucose levels are high they will make extra insulin which may make them grow faster and bigger than necessary this can lead to problems for you and your baby at delivery and after the birth having high blood glucose levels during pregnancy can increase your risk of developing a condition called preeclampsia a condition that would lead to high blood pressure and protein in the urine if your baby grows too large there is also a risk of an early delivery or the need for instrumental delivery or a cesarean section if your baby has been exposed to high blood glucose levels during pregnancy they may experience low blood glucose levels for a few days after delivery as they continue to make extra insulin for a day or two after birth even though they are not being supplied the same amount of glucose as they were in the uterus your baby will not be born with diabetes there are also health risks for you and your baby in the future having gestational diabetes means that both you and your baby are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life your baby is also more likely to be overweight in childhood and young adulthood although there are risks associated with gestational diabetes the good news is that gestational diabetes can be managed to reduce these risks

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