Diabetes that develops during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. It occurs because body cannot produce enough insulin (a hormone important in controlling blood glucose) to meet its extra needs in pregnancy. This results in high blood glucose levels.
Gestational diabetes usually starts in the middle or towards the end of pregnancy.It may affect up to 18 in 100 women during pregnancy.
Following are the risk factors to develop gestational diabetes :
• Body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher
• History of previously given birth to a large baby, weighing 4.5 kg (10lbs) or more
• Have had gestational diabetes before2
• Have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
• Family origin is South Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern.
Patients having any of the above risk factors, should be offered a glucose test during pregnancy. This may be a simple blood test in early pregnancy and/or a glucose tolerance test (GTT) between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant.
Most women who develop diabetes in pregnancy have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies but occasionally gestational diabetes can cause serious problems, especially if it goes unrecognised. Diagnosing and treating gestational diabetes reduces these risks.It is important to control the level of glucose in your blood during pregnancy. If not controlled well baby can become bigger thereby increasing the risk of caesarean section, serious birth trauma and still birth. Baby may also be at greater risk of developing obesity and/or diabetes in later life.Controlling your levels of blood glucose during pregnancy and labour reduces the risks of all thesecomplications.
Having gestational diabetes will mean more clinic visits at the hospital.Healthy eating and exercise. The most important treatment for gestational diabetes is a healthy eating plan and exercise. Gestational diabetes usually improves with these changes although some women, despite their best efforts, need totake tablets and/or give themselves insulin injections. A dietician can help to choose foods that will help to keep blood glucose at a healthy and stable level.If it does not reach a satisfactory level after 1–2 weeks, or if an ultrasound scan shows that your baby is larger than expected, there might be a need to take tablets or insulin injections.
Ideally delivery should be planned between 38 and 40 weeks of pregnancy, depending on individual circumstances.It is important that your blood glucose level is controlled during labour and birth and it should be monitored every hour during labour to ensure it stays at a satisfactory levelDuringlabour, baby’s heart rate should be continuously monitored.
• Breastfeeding is best for babies,
• Baby should have his or her blood glucose level tested a few hours after birth to make sure that it is not too low.
• Gestational diabetes usually gets better after birth and all diabetes medications should be stopped immediately after baby is born.
Being the right weight for height (having a normal BMI), eating a healthy diet and taking regular physical exercise before next pregnancy reduces the risk of developing gestational diabetes again.
Dr. Sagimole Tojichen
Specialist Obstetrics / Gynecology
International Modern Hospital Dubai
For Appointments : 971 4 406 3000