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What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About Gestational Diabetes

What Every Pregnant Woman Should Know About Gestational Diabetes

Most people know that diabetes is a chronic condition that messes with your blood sugar, but it may surprise you to learn that pregnant women are susceptible to a temporary, but serious, form of the disease called gestational diabetes.

At The Endocrine Center in Houston, Texas, our team of board-certified physicians understands the potential complications of gestational diabetes and has vast experience helping mothers-to-be control their symptoms and deliver healthy babies. 

If you're expecting, it’s important to be fully informed about all of the potential problems that can arise during pregnancy so you can spot the symptoms and seek help immediately. Here, we take a closer look at gestational diabetes to give you a better overall understanding of this serious condition.

Gestational diabetes is pretty common

Gestational diabetes is a fairly common pregnancy complication — up to 10% of pregnant women experience it, which means that about 20 million mothers and babies per year worldwide face some form of hyperglycemia and the consequences that come with it.

Gestational diabetes isn’t your fault

Researchers still don’t know exactly why some women get gestational diabetes and others don’t, but we do know that it’s a hormone issue. 

To support your baby’s growth and development, your placenta releases hormones, and some of these interfere with the way your body processes insulin. If you can’t use insulin properly, glucose builds up in your blood and leads to hyperglycemia and gestational diabetes.

How to spot signs of gestational diabetes

It’s important to talk to your obstetrician about gestational diabetes. These days, most physicians screen pregnant women for the condition around the 7-week mark because gestational diabetes tends to appear at the onset of the second trimester. Early detection is critical to controlling it.

However, there are some signs to watch for if you haven’t been screened yet:

The first four symptoms on this list are classic signs of pregnancy for all women, but the last three aren’t. Talk to your doctor about all of your pregnancy symptoms and ask for a gestational diabetes test. At The Endocrine Center, we can administer an oral glucose tolerance test or a glucose challenge test to determine your body’s response to insulin.

Uncontrolled gestational diabetes is dangerous for you and your baby

With regular monitoring and a healthy diet and exercise routine, most women can keep their gestational diabetes under control. However, if you ignore this condition, you put yourself at risk for:

In fact, about 50% of women who get gestational diabetes end up dealing with Type 2 diabetes down the road. 

Your baby also faces potential complications if you have gestational diabetes, including:

In severe cases, gestational diabetes can lead to a stillbirth.

Gestational diabetes is manageable

You can do your best to prevent gestational diabetes by staying active during your pregnancy, eating a nutritious diet, and maintaining a healthy weight. However, you can still develop gestational diabetes despite these efforts. If you do, we may prescribe insulin therapy. 

The good news is that gestational diabetes typically disappears after you deliver your baby, but we still need to test you for a while afterward to make sure. Plus, you’ll need to pay close attention to your diet and weight in the years following your pregnancy to avoid developing Type 2 diabetes. 

To find out more about gestational diabetes, or to get tested, call us at either of our two Houston, Texas, locations or book online at your convenience. Our team can help you and your unborn baby thrive despite gestational diabetes.

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