Argh, gestational diabetes!
It’s a condition that many expectant moms are taught to fear – in fact many moms not only fear the diagnosis but the test itself: the horrible glucose drink!
Gestational diabetes mellitus (sometimes referred to as GDM) is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and generally disappears after the baby is born. This diagnosis is given when higher than normal blood glucose levels first appear during pregnancy when blood sugar levels were normal prior to pregnancy.
Between 5% and 10% of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes, with the condition generally presenting itself around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. All women are tested for gestational diabetes as part of the 24-28 week routine examination with their GP.
To learn more about gestational diabetes and what can be done to avoid it I have asked diabetes expert, Lily Nichols to give us the run down. What the video below for more information.
What causes gestational diabetes?
There is a myriad of conditions, lifestyle factors, genetic predispositions and personal choices that can lead to the development of gestational diabetes. Some specific risk factors include:
- A family history of type 2 diabetes
- Have had gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies
- Have previously had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Have previously given birth to a large baby
- Have a family history of gestational diabetes
How does a doctor test for gestational diabetes?
Your doctor will give you a Glucose Challenge Test (GCT) where blood is taken for a glucose measurement one hour after a glucose drink.
If this test presents a glucose failure then an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) is done. For an OGTT a blood sample is taken before and two hours after the drink to determine a more accurate reading.
In order to take the test, you have to fast for 12 hours beforehand. This means no food and no drinks. You need to start with a neutral blood sugar level before taking the glucose drink which will spike your blood sugar levels to determine how efficiently your cells are able to absorb glucose.
What to do if you have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes?
Well, first of all – don’t panic. Don’t google every symptom searching for any and every crash diet and strange remedy you can find. Take a breath, and visit Lily’s site for more information about her book and course that will guide you through how to manage your diabetes and prevent it during your next pregnancy.
The best treatment for gestational diabetes is an adjustment to nutrition and increasing physical activity (according to your doctor’s guidelines).