Gestational Diabetes: what it is, Symptoms and Treatments for Women by Dr Sujata

Posted by Nurvi Naari on March 14th, 2020

The gestational diabetes or gestational is a diabetic condition that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy . It is manifested by little evident symptoms , which is why women frequently do not realize the development of the pathology.

It is a disease that affects only pregnant women. Gestational diabetes mellitus is linked exclusively to pregnancy, but in any case denotes a condition predisposing to type II diabetes, although they are two pathologies with distinct natural histories.

It consists of an alteration of the glucose metabolism so that, during pregnancy, there is an increase in blood glucose values. It affects about 6-7% of pregnant women and is a disorder that usually disappears after childbirth.

Obviously it is not a pathology to be underestimated. In fact, if not diagnosed and treated correctly, it could generate problems in the moment of delivery. In addition, it represents a risk factor for a possible onset of type II diabetes.

Therefore, to avoid complications, it is essential to understand their causes and possible treatments. In fact, specific therapies and adequate nutrition allow you to keep it under control.

With the right precautions, it is possible to carry on the pregnancy in full serenity despite gestational diabetes, without dangers for the unborn child or for the mother.

What is gestational diabetes?
Under normal conditions, our body assimilates the carbohydrates contained in food, transforming them into glucose , the main energy source for our body.

After digestion, glucose is absorbed into the blood and then made usable by the cells through a hormone called insulin , produced by the beta cells of the pancreas .

Hormonal changes related to pregnancy cause some hormones, produced by the placenta, to hinder the action of insulin. In this way, the cells become less sensitive to the action of this hormone.

It is a natural process. In some women with particular genetic characteristics , however, the pancreas cannot compensate for this deficit through an increase in insulin production and release . Thus, the blood sugar level rises, with the risk of complications for the mother and fetus .

Gestational diabetes is particular, since it occurs in women who are not previously affected by diabetes and appears only during pregnancy.

It is therefore not necessarily related to a diabetes pre-existing to pregnancy and which, during the course of gestation, could become complicated, giving rise to even complex pathologies .

The causes and risk factors
The cause of gestational diabetes is precisely the state of pregnancy . As explained above, it is a pathology that occurs because, during pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones that inhibit the action of insulin. For this reason, during pregnancy it is normal for a small rise in blood glucose after meals.

Do you think that a pregnant woman, towards the end of gestation , with the same number of calories, produces more insulin than that of a non-pregnant woman. Sometimes, however, this condition of hyperinsulinism cannot compensate for insulin resistance. There is therefore an increase in blood sugar and the appearance of gestational diabetes.

Why do some pregnant women not develop gestational diabetes and others do?

There are obviously risk factors that have an impact on the occurrence of this pathology:

  • overweight. Being overweight before pregnancy is the main risk factor, as well as a significant weight gain in the first months of gestation;
  • familiarity , i.e. presence of type II diabetes mellitus in first degree family members;
    previous gestational diabetes in previous pregnancies;
  • macrosomia in previous pregnancies. There is talk of macrosomia when the fetus at birth weighs more than 4 kg;
  • belonging to ethnic groups considered at risk, such as those of the Middle East, the Caribbean and Southern Asia;
  • strong glycosuria , or the presence of sugars in the urine;
    age over 35;
  • Symptoms

In other cases, hyperglycaemia occurs with:

frequent need to urinate;

body weight loss in the face of increased hunger;

unjustified increase in thirst;

very frequent urinary infections (such as cystitis and candidiasis);

visual disturbances;

nausea and vomiting: these disorders are very frequent in pregnancy, therefore insignificant.

As we have seen, gestational diabetes has risk factors, including being overweight . That's why the best way to prevent this pathology is to have a healthy lifestyle even before pregnancy.

Good rules for the prevention of gestational diabetes, as well as type II diabetes, are:

regular and constant physical activity;

balanced diet and low in simple sugars and saturated fats

In case of being overweight, it may be advisable to plan pregnancy, planning to lose weight before becoming pregnant.

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Nurvi Naari

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Nurvi Naari
Joined: February 11th, 2020
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