Understanding Gestational Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes, Diet and More

Understanding Gestational Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes, Diet and More
Understanding Gestational Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes, Diet and More

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), it particularly develops in pregnant women who do not have any medical history of diabetes prior to pregnancy. The signs and symptoms that associate with gestational diabetes include the following:

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Frequent or increased urination
  3. Fatigue
  4. Blurred vision
  5. Weight loss accompanying increased appetite
  6. Nausea and vomiting
  7. Yeast infections

Yet, for a majority of pregnant women, there are no recognizable symptoms for gestational diabetes and for this very reason screening tests are the foremost recommendations for all pregnant women. Gestational diabetes just like the other types of diabetes affects the utilization of glucose by body cells. Seeking medical help if a woman develops gestational diabetes she might need to visit a doctor more often than usual. However, the doctor will check every woman once she is pregnant to rule out gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes leads to high blood sugar levels in a woman that can affect the baby’s health and mother’s health as well. The symptoms of gestational diabetes are most likely to develop during the last trimester of pregnancy and need immediate medical help. Blood sugar usually comes back to normal after the delivery. But if you are experiencing gestational diabetes, then you might be at increasing risk of having type 2 diabetes. You will be required to be tested for the variations in blood glucose more often. Many pregnant ladies do not experience symptoms or signs of gestational diabetes.

In fact, the only thing to know is having a blood glucose test, normally given around the 24 to 28 gestation weeks. A few ladies might notice some symptoms and signs of gestational diabetes, consisting:

  • Fatigue: pregnant ladies are tired, after all it is too much work to support and grow a baby. Therefore, gestational diabetes might provide you the feeling of even more tiredness than usual.
  • Increasing thirst: Drinking above normal and having the feeling like you are thirsty always might be a symptom of gestational diabetes.
  • Dry mouth: A dry or patchy mouth other than consuming a lot might be a symptom of gestational diabetes.

Diabetes might occur while pregnancy normally goes away just after the delivery, but that might not always be the case. For having genuine gestational diabetes it must be cured immediately after the birth of the baby, since the resistance of insulin is taken by hormonal changes and metabolic variations in pregnancy.  Therefore, sometimes when we are diagnosing a woman having gestational diabetes during pregnancy, it is typically that she is having pre-gestational diabetes that we are diagnosing while pregnant. Pre-gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs before pregnancy, consisting of type 2 and type 1 diabetes, as well as other more rare kinds of diabetes such as  Cystic Fibrosis or medicine-inducing diabetes. Pre-gestational diabetes cannot be resolved post-delivery. If you are experiencing pre-gestational diabetes that is diagnosed while pregnant, your doctor will tell you a treatment plan. This might consist of lifestyle and diet modifications and utilization of oral medication or insulin. (21, 22, 23)

1Gestational Diabetes Causes

Gestational Diabetes Causes
Gestational Diabetes Causes

Researchers do not know why few women are having gestational diabetes yet and others do not. Excessive weight before pregnancy sometimes plays an important role. Several hormones normally work to maintain the blood glucose level in check. But during pregnancy, changes in hormone levels, making it difficult for your body to perform blood sugar effectively. This causes your blood glucose to increase. The female body during pregnancy produces special hormones to keep the pregnancy intact.

Gestational diabetes happens when the body is not able to make the additional insulin which is important for normal functioning during pregnancy. Insulin is the primary hormone which is produced in the pancreas and aids the body to utilize the extra glucose circulating in the blood for energy. The regulation of blood glucose levels is an important task of insulin and the non-effective functioning or poor availability of it leads to serious threat to the growing fetus and the mother as well.

During pregnancy, the female body also goes through certain changes including weight gain which also contributes to glucose intolerance. The cells of the body because of the changes in body during pregnancy are not able to use insulin effectively which is medically known as insulin resistance. All the pregnant females have some degree of insulin resistance during the later trimester of their pregnancy. Although most women during their pregnancy can produce enough insulin but there are some who cannot thus leading to the development of gestational diabetes.

However, the underlying cause might be different for each woman but following are some commonly surfacing causes of gestational diabetes:

  1. Being obese or overweight

Being obese or overweight than normal has a direct association with the development of gestational diabetes. Women who are obese or overweight might already suffer from insulin resistance when they are pregnant. In addition, gaining additional weight during pregnancy might also be a factor in causing gestational diabetes in women in the later months of their pregnancy.

  1. Family history

Having a close family member with a history of diabetes mellitus can also increase your chances of developing gestational diabetes once you become pregnant. Women with a family history of diabetes are more likely to develop gestational diabetes than other women which indicates that genes do play a significant role.

  1. Hormonal changes

Gestational diabetes can appear from hormonal changes and the manner our body converts nutrients into energy. The imbalance of metabolic processes due to changes in hormones during pregnancy leads to gestational diabetes as well. A hormone known as insulin breaks down the glucose from the food you eat and delivers it to body cells. Insulin maintains a constant level of glucose in the body at all times. However, if insulin is not working effectively or we are not having enough glucose, the glucose in blood builds up and results in diabetes. Hormones can interfere with the optimum functioning of insulin during pregnancy in women. As a result, insulin might not regulate the blood sugar levels like it must which might result in gestational diabetes. (25)