There are some unexpected and scary things that come up while you're pregnant. Some can be mild conditions, while others can be quite serious and require constant monitoring and treatment. Thankfully gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition that can be screened for in pregnant women early on in the pregnancy. It also can be effectively managed so as to cause no problems for mom or baby. Many moms-to-be who get diagnosed with gestational diabetes are shocked, but there may be some things you didn't realize are signs of gestational diabetes that could prepare you for the doctor's news.
According to WebMD, gestational diabetes is not rare and occurs in as many as nine out of 10 pregnant women. The same site noted that anyone can get the condition, but people who are Hispanic, African-American, Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander carry a higher risk. Others with an elevated risk include women who were overweight before getting pregnant, have family members with diabetes, have had abnormal blood sugar tests before, have had a very large baby (nine pounds or more) or a stillbirth.
According to What To Expect, gestational diabetes usually starts somewhere between weeks 24 and 28. The site explained that it happens when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to deal with an increased amount of glucose, or sugar, that's circulating in your blood that helps a baby grow. Many of the symptoms of gestational diabetes mimic normal pregnancy symptoms and often go unnoticed, but if you notice any of the following five signs you might have gestational diabetes.
1. You Are Extremely Thirsty
According to the Mayo Clinic, polydipsia, or excessive thirst, is a classic marker of any diabetes condition. The site explained that if you have diabetes, extra sugar builds up in your blood which sends your kidneys into overdrive. They're trying to filter it all out and absorb the excess sugar. If your kidneys can't keep up, the extra sugar comes out in your urine along with all of the other fluids from your tissues. The more fluid you lose, the more you'll want to consume.
This can be pretty difficult for most pregnant women to discern because being constantly thirsty is a common symptom of pregnancy.
2. You Use The Bathroom Frequently
The impact of excessive thirst in gestational diabetes leads to of course, constant peeing or polyuria. As explained by the Mayo Clinic article above, your kidneys are in overdrive from all that extra sugar. Again, this symptom is tricky because peeing constantly is a big pregnancy symptom.
3. You Are Tired AF
Another big symptom of every type of diabetes is extreme tiredness. According to Every Health, people with diabetes are tired because their cells aren't getting enough sugar for energy. This level of tiredness though may be really hard to spot because pregnant women are often very tired. They are making eye balls, lungs, brains, and legs - that's hard and exhausting work for the pregnant body. Not to mention, sleep might be difficult because of heart burn, aches, and pains.
What to Expect noted that, by the second trimester most women feel less tired than they do in the first trimester and get a burst of energy. If you're really tired in your second trimester it could be a sign of something more serious, like gestational diabetes, and it'd be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it.
4. You Snore
What To Expect noted that snoring during pregnancy is pretty normal thanks to a surge in pregnancy hormones that mucous membranes in your nose to swell. But the site noted that snoring is also sometimes an indicator of gestational diabetes.
5. You Don't Have Any Symptoms
"It's important to realize that for most women, gestational diabetes doesn't cause noticeable signs or symptoms," Dr. Nita Landry, a board certified OB-GYN, tells Romper in an interview.
Dr. Jennifer Caudle, Health Expert and Family Physician agrees and says that, "while many pregnant women are affected, it is actually uncommon for women to experience symptoms and it's usually discovered through screening."
There are no set guidelines or recommendations for gestational diabetes screening. According to Mayo Clinic, some doctors think every woman should get screed, while others think only those with risk factors should. The test for gestational diabetes is fairly simple although I'll admit the drink they give you is pretty gross. The Mayo Clinic explained that screening is done using the glucose challenge test in which pregnant women have to drink a syrupy glucose solution. You then have to sit there for an hour and wait for them to test your blood glucose levels. The site noted that if your levels are higher than what's considered normal it just means you have a higher risk of GDM and that you'll require further testing.
According to the same Web MD article above, most women with gestational diabetes go on to have healthy babies. The site suggested that women with gestational diabetes be carefully monitored and managed by a health care professional to prevent complications for baby such as: excessive birth weight, preterm birth, respiratory distress syndrome, low blood sugar, and type 2 diabetes later in life. Complications for mothers to be aware of that could affect their health are high blood pressure and preeclampsia, as well as, future diabetes.
It's important to remember that getting gestational diabetes is not your fault and, in many cases, utterly unpreventable. The best thing to do if you're diagnosed is to be diligent about the plan your provider sets forth and understand that while it'd be nice to go through an easy, no problems pregnancy - sometimes it happens. Thankfully, gestational diabetes is a condition that can be caught early and managed well.