Do not be worry if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Just with a reasonable diet and exercise, your health status will be easily controlled. But don’t be subjective with diabetes during pregnancy, it can kill your baby.
According to statistics, 1 in 7 pregnant women affected by gestational diabetes. Not only adversely affects the health of the mother, diabetes in pregnancy also harms the development of the fetus. Gestational diabetes testing is the most effective way to control this condition. The following article will help you have more useful information about this disease.
Pregnancy from the 20th week on wards, you may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes when you have high blood sugar level, due to hormonal disorders or your body cannot synthesize insulin. It is common in obese people or overweight with type 2 diabetes. The treatment in this case is usually to adjust the diet with high in fiber, reduce starch, inject insulin in case of necessary (as directed by your doctor).
1. What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar (high glucose) that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth.
According to the definition of the World Health Organization (WHO), gestation of diabetes is a disorder of any degree of glucose tolerance, onset or first recognition during pregnancy. It is offen asymptomatic and may be discovered incidentally and will disappear after 6 weeks of birth.
* Women at high risk for gestational diabetes:
Any woman can develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but you’re at an increased risk if:
- Overweight and obesity: your body mass index (BMI) is above 30 – use the healthy weight calculator to work out your BMI.
- Family history: some people have diabetes, especially people with first generation of diabetes.
- Childbirth history ≥ 4000g: you previously had a baby who weighed 4.0kg or more at birth.
- A history of abnormal glucose tolerance includes a history of gestational diabetes, positive urinary glucose (This is a rare condition in which the kidneys release glucose into the urine).
- People are higher the age who will be the higher the risk. Women are over ≥ 35 year old who is a high risk factor for gestational diabetes.
- History of obstetrical abnormalities: stillbirth of an unexplained abortion, consecutive miscarriage of unknown cause, premature birth, birth defects.
- You are of south Asian, Black, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern origin (even if you were born in the UK) are at high risk for gestational diabetes.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Gestational diabetes accounts for 3 to 7% of all pregnant women, and there is a high risk for the mother and fetus if not properly monitored and treated.
If one of these apply to you, you should be offered screening for gestational diabetes during your pregnancy.
2. Is gestational diabetes dangerous?
2.1. Diabetes affects on the mother
Pregnant women with diabetes can increase the rate of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, hypertension in pregnancy, multiple amniotic fluid, urinary infections, pyelonephritis, caesarean section. In the long term, pregnant women with diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and related complications, especially cardiovascular complications.
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes are at higher risk of complications during pregnancy than normal pregnant women. The common accidents are:
- High blood pressure:
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop hypertension than normal women. Hypertension in pregnancy can cause many complications for the mother and fetus such as pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, stroke, liver failure, kidney failure, intrauterine growth retardation, premature birth.
The rate of pregnant women with diabetes is pre-eclampsia higher 12% than that of women without gestational diabetes. Therefore, measuring blood pressure, monitoring weight, finding proteinuria regularly for pregnant women with gestational diabetes which are essential in every routine pregnancy check-up.
- Premature birth:
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes increase the risk of preterm birth compared to women without it. The causes of preterm birth are due to late blood glucose control, urinary tract infection, multiple amniotic fluid, preeclampsia, and hypertension.
- Multiple amniotic fluid:
The amount of Amniotic fluid often begins from 26 to 32 weeks of pregnancy. High amniotic fluid also increases the risk of preterm birth of pregnant women.
- Miscarriage and stillbirth:
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of spontaneous abortion, women with frequent Pregnant women with diabetes are at an increased risk of spontaneous abortion, women with frequent miscarriage need to be checked for blood glucose regularly.
- Urinary tract infection:
Pregnant women with diabetes if the control of plasma glucose is not good which increases the risk of urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections may have no clinical symptoms, but making the pregnant woman’s plasma glucose is unbalanced and need to be treated. If left untreated, it can easily lead to acute pyelonephritis, which can cause many other complications such as ketosis, premature birth, amniotic infection.
- Long-term effects:
Many studies have found that women with a history of diabetes who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. If they have had gestational diabetes in pregnancy which will be at higher risk of having it again in a next pregnancy. They are also prone to obesity, excessive weight gain after giving birth without proper diet and exercise.
2.2. Diabetes affects on the fetus
Gestational diabetes affects the fetal development mainly in the first trimester and the third trimester. During the first 3 months, baby may not develop, spontaneous abortion, birth defects, these changes usually occur in the 6th to 7th week of pregnancy. In the middle 3 months, especially in the last 3 months of pregnancy, there is an increase in insulin secretion of the fetus, causing the fetus to overgrowth.
- Excessive growth and fetal enlargement:
Excessive fetal growth is a consequence of increased maternal glucose transport into the fetus. This amount of glucose stimulates the fetal pancreas to excrete insulin, increases the fetal energy demand, stimulates fetal development.
- Respiratory pathology: Critical respiratory syndrome:
In the past, neonatal respiratory syndrome was the leading cause of death, accounting for 30% in newborns of gestational diabetes. Currently, this rate is about 10% due to have means of evaluattion of fetal lung maturity.
- Babies dies immediately after birth
- Increased red blood cells:
Is a common condition in newborns of pregnant women with gestational diabetes.
- Jaundice newborn:
Increased hemoglobin leads to an increase in plasma bilirubin causing neonatal jaundice, which occurs in approximately 25% of pregnant women with diabetes.
- The long-term effects:
Increasing the frequency of obese children, when children grow up who will be early to have type 2 diabetes, mental disorders. Babies born from mothers with gestational diabetes are higher 8 times than born from normal mothers, when they are 19 to 27 years old.
3. What are the signs of gestational diabetes?
Diabetes in pregnance happens quietly, you only know if you go to your prenatal check-up and the doctor gives you a gestational diabetes test. Most cases are only discovered when your blood sugar levels are tested during screening for gestational diabetes. Some common signs of diabetes in pregnant women are:
- Thirst frequently, or wake up in the middle of the night to drink water.
- Frequent urination and the amount of urine is much more than in other pregnant women.
- If accidentally scratched, injured will take a long time to heal.
- Vaginal infections, with fungal creams / drugs that usually do not go away.
- Weight loss, tired, lack of vitality.
However, some of these symptoms are common during pregnancy and are not necessarily a sign of gestational diabetes. Speak to your midwife or doctor if you’re worried about any symptoms you’re experiencing.
4. What is the normal blood sugar level for a pregnant woman?
If your blood glucose level is higher than 190 mg/dL (10.6 mmol/L) after the one-hour test, you’ll be diagnosed with diabetes. For the three-hour test: A normal fasting blood glucose level is lower than 95 mg/dL (5.3 mmol/L).
The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated below alongside the International Diabetes Federation’s target ranges for people with diabetes
|TARGET LEVELS||BEFORE MEALS (PRE PRANDIAL)||2 HOURS AFTER MEALS (POST PRANDIAL)|
|No diabetes or in health||4.0 to 5.4 mmol/L||Under 7.8 mmol/L|
|Adult with Type 1 diabetes||4 to 7 mmol/L||Under 9 mmol/L|
|Adult with Type 2 diabetes||4 to 7 mmol/L||Under 8.5 mmol/L|
|Children with Type 1 diabetes||4 to 8 mmol/L||Under 10 mmol/L|
If your glycemic index is not in the normal range compared to the table above, it means that you have gestational diabetes. People with diabetes who have a blood sugar level lower than 4mmol / L are considered hypoglycemic. At this time, patients need first aid in time.
5. What is the process for testing blood sugar for pregnant women?
You will be assigned a glucose test by glucose tolerance test and gestational diabetes between 25~28 weeks. Normally, before taking the test, your healthcare provider will give you a sugary but non-carbonated drink. About 1 hour after drinking, you will take a blood test.
Most of the time, a normal result for the glucose screening test is a blood sugar that is equal to or less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) 1 hour after drinking the glucose solution. A normal result means you DO NOT have gestational diabetes. If your blood glucose is higher than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L), the next step is the oral glucose tolerance test. This test will show if you have diabetes.
If the results show a high sugar level, you will be monitored carefully by your doctor. In case the sugar concentration is too high, insulin injection is necessary
Thus, gestational diabetes seriously affects both mother and fetus. Pregnant women should go to the hospital for regular checkups for early diabetes detection. And if you want to have detail guides to treat diabetes, please learn more in HERE.