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  • Exploring Gestational Diabetes on World Diabetes Day
    Added by My Identity Doctor
    While diabetes can affect anyone, gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects only woman during pregnancy. In recent years, 6 to 8 percent of soon-to-be mamas are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a statistic that’s increased 2-4% from previous years. [1] While often gestational diabetes is thought to be linked to weight, only half of those diagnosed are considered overweight—anyone over 25 but especially those over 35 are at increased risk for gestational diabetes. [1] So what happens in gestational diabetes (GD) and can it be prevented?
    What happens in Gestational Diabetes?
    Diabetes in general means your body cannot produce enough insulin to help your body digest the carbohydrates you eat, or it cannot respond properly to use the insulin that it is creating. [2] In gestational diabetes, demand for insulin increases as the body undergoes hormonal changes that also may cause insulin production to decrease or the body to respond less readily to produced insulin—this is called insulin resistance, and occurs to a degree in all pregnancies, though symptoms may not develop or be noticeable. [2] This means that blood glucose levels rise, and if the rise in glucose levels are not treated, complications can develop. [2] For this reason, it’s important to be screened for gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
    Complications of gestational diabetes can include increased risk of high blood pressure (preeclampsia), requiring a cesarian section to deliver a large baby. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of being born very large (over 9 pounds) which can increase risk of delivery complications, being born prematurely, having low blood sugar, and developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Some of these complications can be managed by adequate control of blood sugar levels during pregnancy. [2] Testing blood sugar levels regularly, and managing diet, exercise and using medications may be necessary—in some cases, insulin injections may be needed to keep blood sugar levels normal during pregnancy.
    Can GD be prevented?
    Healthy pre-pregnancy behaviours can help decrease some risk factors for gestational diabetes. It may be recommended some women lose weight before becoming pregnant to prevent developing GD. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly both before and throughout your pregnancy can also help prevent gestational diabetes. [3]
    What does Gestational Diabetes mean for post-pregnancy life?
    Most often, gestational diabetes resolves after the baby is born. [2] Half of women with gestational diabetes, however, will develop type 2 diabetes later in life—risk can be lowered by managing weight after birth. [2] Blood sugar levels should be tested 6-12 weeks after birth of the baby, [2] and if all is normal, then glucose levels should be re-checked at a schedule recommended by your doctor. As risk of developing type 2 diabetes is elevated if you’ve had GD, it is important to be screened regularly.
    If you are pregnant, wearing a pregnancy medical ID bracelet can help ensure you and your baby are treated safely during an emergency, and that medicines or tests that could harm the baby are given safely. If you also have gestational diabetes, a medical ID necklace or bracelet can ensure your GD is monitored and treated while you and your baby are receiving care.
    Published by My Identity Doctor on November 14, 2018


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