What Is Gestational Diabetes?

When thinking of diabetes, people usually think of type 1 (hereditary) and type 2 (due to obesity, bad nutrition and lack of exercise), but gestational diabetes is frequently not discussed. This leaves some confusion about it, because it’s not a common form. In this article we’re going to explain to you what gestational diabetes is, how you get it, and what the symptoms are.

This type of diabetes affects solely women during pregnancy. Because some woman can have very high levels of glucose, their body simply can’t produce enough insulin to help move that glucose to the cells that need it, which unfortunately just leads to a bigger build up of glucose levels.

Like type 2 diabetes, having a healthy diet and exercising regularly can control gestational diabetes. However, this isn’t always enough, as up to 20% of women will still need to take a blood-glucose-controlling medication to keep the glucose levels in check.

When you’re pregnant your body produces many hormones an that unfortunately all impair the ability of your body to produce and effectively use insulin. Therefore, women who have unhealthy diets or don’t exercise regularly before becoming pregnant will have a higher risk of developing this kind of diabetes once they do. However, only 2 to 10% of women get gestational diabetes during pregnancy, so it isn’t extremely common.

Symptoms for gestational diabetes are:

• Fatigue
• Blurred vision
• Your breath smells of acetone
• Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain
• Painful or frequent urination
• Weight loss
• Hyperventilation

Gestational diabetes will usually develop around the 20th week, but typically a little bit later.

It’s important to see if a doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms because if it goes undiagnosed it can cause serious complications during childbirth and can harm the child and the baby may be born bigger than they should be. The baby may also experience breathing problems because they have too low blood glucose levels and make them more susceptible to developing diabetes themselves later in life.



Health & Fitness

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When I'm not volunteering my time at a local nonprofit, I write about family. Running a household isn't easy, but I'll do my best to share my insights!

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