There are some conditions that you expect to occur during pregnancy. Morning sickness, for instance, probably comes as no surprise to most women. But hearing you have diabetes may come as something of a shock. What is the cause of gestational diabetes, and what should you know about this condition?
As the name suggests, gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy, as noted in WebMD. As further explained by the website, the condition will not prevent you from giving birth to a healthy baby, and you may not even have diabetes once the baby has been delivered. Additionally, the condition is not particularly rare; as explained by the American Diabetes Association, gestational diabetes may affect as many as 9.2 percent of pregnant women.
Although the exact causes of gestational diabetes are still being researched, it tends to develop in the last half of a pregnancy and may be related to the effects of placental hormones on your blood sugar levels, as explained by the Mayo Clinic. After all, your body is going through some major changes, so it's understandable if some things get a little out of whack. And as explained by the National Health Service (NHS), gestational diabetes may result when your body fails to produce enough insulin to meet your pregnant body's increased needs. This, in turn, can impact your body's ability to control its blood sugar levels, as further noted by the NHS. If your blood sugar levels get too high during pregnancy, then you have gestational diabetes.
Fortunately, gestational diabetes can be caught early and managed. As noted by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, you can be tested for gestational diabetes between weeks 24 to 28 of your pregnancy, or even earlier if you have an increased likelihood of getting the condition. (Women who are older than 25, or have a family history of diabetes, may be at increased risk, as noted by the Mayo Clinic). And, as explained by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, gestational diabetes may be managed by keeping track of your blood sugar, eating a healthy diet, and taking prescribed insulin. Overall, gestational diabetes may sound like an alarming ordeal, but you can help keep it in check with some help from your doctor.