Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

All about the symptoms of gestational diabetes ...

Lately, more and more women search for information in regards to the symptoms of gestational diabetes.

As such, we here at Nutritional-Supplement-Educational-Centre recognize that it is indeed a very important topic.

However, before we discuss the symptoms of this particular type of diabetes, let's briefly define diabetes and gestational diabetes.


What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a health condition where the body either does not produce enough or any insulin - or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin's crucial role is to control the amount of glucose (blood sugar) in the blood as well as the rate at which glucose (blood sugar) is absorbed into the cells.

When the body is functioning normally, insulin allows glucose to enter the body's cells to produce energy needed for life. In a person with diabetes, by contrast, high blood sugar often results because the glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of being taken into or used by the cells. This phenomenon, then, can lead to a host of other complications if not properly treated such as nerve damage, heart disease, vision impairment, kidney disease, and more.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a form of this health condition that develops during pregnancy. It affects approximately 4 percent of pregnant women and, as such, expecting mothers express concern about the symptoms of gestational diabetes.

The exact cause of gestational diabetes is unknown, but experts have some theories. During pregnancy, the placenta supplies a growing fetus with nutrients and water, which are important for the baby’s growth and development. In addition, the placenta produces a variety of hormones to maintain the pregnancy, and some of these hormones can have a blocking effect on insulin. This problem is called insulin resistance, which usually begins about 20 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

Most often, if women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, this condition disappears after delivery. However, it seems to be a sign that a woman is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes (or non-insulin dependent-diabetes mellitus) in later life.

Why?

Researchers speculate that the genes responsible for type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes may be similar.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

Oftentimes pregnant women will experience no obvious signs or symptoms of gestational diabetes, but if they do, they may be similar to those in non-gestational diabetes such as:

  • Increased thirst.
  • Increased urination.
  • Increased hunger.
  • Blurred vision
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Weight loss in spite of increased appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Recurring urinary tract or vaginal (yeast) infections

    Again, usually it does not cause prominent symptoms distinguishable from those that commonly occur in pregnancy such as most women have to urinate more often and feel more hungry, so having these symptoms does not always mean that a woman has gestational diabetes.

    In addition, sometimes a pregnant woman who has symptoms has been living with another type of diabetes without being aware of it.

    Treatment of Gestational Diabetes

    First, screening for gestational diabetes is a routine part of prenatal care between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. In some cases, it may be earlier if you're at particularly high risk of gestational diabetes. This test is known as an oral glucose-tolerance test.

    Treatment is focused on maintaining blood glucose levels within normal limits during the duration of the pregnancy, and to ensure the well-being of the fetus.

    Treatment of gestational diabetes includes special meal planning and exercise. In addition, it may require daily blood glucose testing and insulin shots. The expecting mother diagnosed with gestational diabetes should follow her doctor's recommended treatment plan to keep the condition under control.

    The good news is that most women with gestational diabetes go on to deliver healthy babies. However, the key is careful control of blood sugar levels because uncontrolled or untreated blood sugar levels can cause problems for you and your baby.

    Who’s at Risk?

    Although any woman may develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, some of the factors that may increase risk are:

  • Personal History- family history of diabetes
  • Weight - obesity
  • Previous Complicated Pregnancy - having given birth previously to a very large infant, a stillbirth, or a child with a birth defect
  • Age - women who are older than 25 are at greater risk than younger women
  • Race – African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos are at risk for unknown causes.

    Increased glucose in the urine is often included in the list of risk factors. However, it is not believed to be a reliable indicator for gestational diabetes.

    We hope this webpage discussing the symptoms of gestational diabetes was useful to you.

    To You and Your Baby’s Health!

    The Editors


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