Gestational diabetes is a health issue in which a pregnant woman is diagnosed with high levels of glucose or sugar in blood for the first time in their life. Under normal conditions, even though the presence of pregnancy hormones increases the blood sugar level in pregnant women, it may not lead to diabetic condition.
Placenta produces certain hormones that prevent pregnant women from going to a hypoglycemic condition and these hormones act by blocking insulin. The blockage of insulin’s activities will lead to increase in the blood sugar levels. In order to overcome this high sugar levels, an expected mother’s pancreas produces about three times more insulin and provides glucose to the cells to meet their energy requirements.
However in some women, pancreas won’t be able to produce more insulin leading to gestational diabetes. These hormonal changes and the enhanced risk of gestational diabetes are more common during the third trimester of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes if left untreated may cause birth defects and even miscarriages, hence it is necessary to identify the early symptoms of gestational diabetes and treat them accordingly.
Early Signs & Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
Usually gestational diabetes cause very few symptoms which may or may not be significant.
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes will have increased thirst, as diabetes pulls out water from body cells and in order to cope with this water loss, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the body, body demands more water. Hence, these patients will drink lot of water.
Frequent urination is a common problem that most of the pregnant women face, but those who have gestational diabetes will have more tendencies to urinate than normal pregnant women. This is because while purifying the blood in the kidneys, the excess sugar in the blood gets into the urine and this sugar in urine pulls out more water from the body. This leads to more urine production and it fills up the urinary bladder quickly. As a result the volume of urine flowing out each time and the frequency of urination increases.
Fatigue is also a common symptom of pregnancy; this is because pregnancy burns more energy to meet the various demands of the growing child. Pregnancy if coupled with diabetes makes the patients more prone to fatigue and she won’t be able to perform any strenuous or mild physical activity. This is because, lack of insulin in the body prevents the sugar in food from reaching the cells and produces enough energy required to meet the various biological requirement of the body. Hence the patients become lethargic and get tired easily.
Apart from these symptoms certain patients may develop vaginal infection, as the sugar in urine act as a good breeding ground for fungus. Excess weight gain is also an indication of gestational diabetes.
Women above 30 years, obese, those having a family history of diabetes, those having too much of amniotic fluid, those having high blood pressure, those who had a large baby in their earlier delivery, those have the history of miscarriage or stillbirth etc. are more prone to develop gestational diabetes. Such patients should be taken care to avoid the occurrence of gestational diabetes.
Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes
Normally a glucose tolerance test is carried out between 24 weeks to 28 weeks of pregnancy and for those who have high risk of developing gestational diabetes; the test should be carried out as early as 13th week of pregnancy.
Identify the early symptoms of gestational diabetes and save your baby from birth defects.