What is gestational Diabetes?
Gestational Diabetes is characterized by abnormal levels of sugar during pregnancy. The affected women might not have diabetes before their pregnancy and most of the women go back to being nondiabetic soon after the delivery. This disease has 30 to 70
percent chances of recurrence in subsequent pregnancies. Some women with gestational diabetes may develop another type of diabetes, known as type 2 diabetes, within a few years after pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is recognized in the second trimester of pregnancy, usually having no symptoms, and is recognized during routine screening at the obstetrician’s clinic. If this diabetes is not treated on time, it increases the risk of pregnancy associated with high blood pressure and early delivery of the baby.
The offspring of mothers with gestational diabetes tend to be large which may cause complications during birth. Also, infants whose mothers have gestational diabetes are likely to develop low blood sugar levels soon after birth, and later in life, these individuals have an increased risk of developing obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
What are the causes of gestational Diabetes?
Usually, the causes of gestational diabetes are complex and result from a combination of genetic makeup, health, and lifestyle factors, some of which cannot be identified. The hormone insulin is the root cause of the development of gestational diabetes. The insulin produced in the pancreas controls the quantity of glucose which is to be passed from the blood into cells for the production of energy. Under normal conditions when blood sugar levels are high the pancreas releases insulin to move the excess glucose into the cell and reduces the amount of sugar and glucose in the blood.
During pregnancy women develop an ability to respond the least to the effects of insulin, which is known as insulin resistance, to ensure that there is enough glucose to provide energy for the growing fetus. As insulin resistance develops, higher levels of insulin
are needed to keep blood sugar level INR normal range. Because of this, insulin-producing cells in the pancreas called beta cells make larger amounts of insulin. Beta cells are able to keep up with the body’s demand for insulin and so most pregnant women do
not develop gestational diabetes. Whereas, in some women, The beta cells are unable to increase the production of insulin enough to keep the blood sugar levels in the normal range, and thus, results in a rise in blood sugar level which causes gestational diabetes.
The genetic variations act in combination with lifestyle factors that influence the overall risk of developing gestational diabetes in women. Some risk factors can be noted as:
1. Having a previous pregnancy affected by gestational diabetes.
2. Being above the age of 35 during pregnancy.
3. Having a previous birth with a baby who was large during birth.
4. Being overweight or obese
5. Having a hormonal imbalance called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
6. Having prediabetes.
Women having gestational diabetes are at risk of developing the same in future pregnancies and type 2 diabetes. If a woman develops type 2 diabetes it will be for a lifetime and may cause problems such as miscarriages, stillbirth, problems with kidneys,
heart disease, strokes, nerve damage, foot problems, loss of vision, and blindness. But this risk can be reduced by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet, staying active, and stopping smoking.
As gestational diabetes may have an effect on your pregnancy and labor, it may also impact mental health and may become a distant memory once the baby is born. It may cause anxiety and concerns about future health.
The complications associated with gestational diabetes affecting babies are:
1. Overweight child: The higher levels of blood sugar in the mother can cause that child to grow a large news value of more than 9 pounds and are more likely to become stuck in the birth canal and have insurance or need a C-section birth.
2. Premature birth: The high blood sugar level increases the risk of early labor and delivery due to large babies.
3. Serious breathing difficulties: Prematurely born babies, because of mothers having gestational diabetes may have respiratory distress syndrome, which makes breathing difficult.
4. Hypoglycemia: It is a condition in which offspring with mothers having gestational diabetes have low blood sugar levels shortly after birth. It may cause seizures in the child and are provided with glucose intravenously to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Gestational diabetes paves away after delivery but can have long-term effects on the child as well as the mother. Thus, it becomes important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, diet, and weight in proper consultation with a diabetes specialist to avoid the chances of gestational diabetes and other risks associated with it.