Gestational diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman without a previous history of diabetes develops a high blood sugar level in the diabetes range. Gestational diabetes resembles Type 2 diabetes in several respects with a combination of relatively inadequate insulin secretion and responsiveness. It occurs in as many as 10% of all pregnancies and may improve. It usually resolves after the birth of the baby. However, after birth, approximately 5% to 10% of women with gestational diabetes are found to have developed diabetes, most commonly Type 2.
Overweight women are more prone to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is an indicator for developing diabetes during future pregnancies or later in life.
Elevated glucose during pregnancy increases birth weight, which can cause delivery complications leading to the need for a C-section.
High glucose also increases the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy and excess amniotic fluid around the baby.
Other risks to the baby include congenital heart disease, central nervous system anomalies, and skeletal muscle malformations. Increased fetal insulin may cause respiratory distress syndrome. A high blood bilirubin level may result from red blood cell destruction. In severe cases, perinatal death (5 months before and one month after birth) may occur.
Children born to mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop obesity and diabetes. Hypoglycemia and increased risk of neonatal jaundice are also a concern in these babies.
How Is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed? … Your doctor can perform one of three different blood tests or you can self-test at home:
- Fasting Plasma Glucose Test: Measures your blood sugar after an 8-hour fast. If your blood sugar level is higher than normal (higher than 101 mg/dl) but below diabetes diagnosis level (125 mg/dl or below), you may have prediabetes.
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: Records your blood sugar after an 8-hour fast and again 2 hours after you have a very sweet drink. If your blood sugar is higher than normal 2 hours after the test, you may have prediabetes.
- Hemoglobin A1C Test: Looks at your average blood sugar for the past 2 to 3 months. It can be used to see if your diabetes is under control or to diagnose the disease.
- Blood Sugar Self-testing at Home: To save medical expenses or to avoid the possibility of having diabetes or prediabetes showing on your medical records.
Gestational diabetes is treatable but requires careful medical supervision throughout the pregnancy. The conventional approach to treating diabetes using drugs is inadequate and risky. An aggressive nutritional protocol is needed to reverse gestational diabetes quickly without risky drugs. While nutrition is far preferable to the use of medications and insulin, many uninformed doctors go straight to drugs.
If a doctor recommends drugs without first trying nutrition and lifestyle changes, it is time to find a better doctor.