Gestational diabetes typically occurs in pregnant women in the second trimester of pregnancy. The pancreas cannot cope up with the increased demand of insulin by the body. This results in high levels of blood sugar leading to the condition called as gestational diabetes.
Around 2% of women suffer from gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. The diabetes is detected during a regular glucose-screening test done between weeks 24 and 26 of pregnancy. Luckily, gestational diabetes resolves on its own post delivery. Let us now examine the top causes of gestational diabetes.
Top 8 Causes of Gestational Diabetes
Obesity automatically ups your risk of gestational diabetes. Excess body fat and sugar forces the pancreas to produce more insulin thus making the body insulin resistant. Unhealthy eating patterns put you at tremendous risk of developing gestational diabetes. Women who have not had gestational diabetes suddenly develop it during their pregnancies when their bodies can no longer cope with the demands of increased insulin.
Previous History of Gestational Diabetes
If you have had gestational diabetes in your last pregnancy, your chances of developing it in future pregnancies are higher. A family history of diabetes automatically puts you at risk of developing it during your pregnancy. Extreme caution is exercised by the health care provider in case of a strong family history.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure combined with obesity is a killer combination, which puts you at risk of developing gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. High blood pressure doubles you risk of gestational diabetes.
Weight Gain in First Trimester
Healthy women who gained weight rapidly during their first trimester are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes by the time they hit their second trimester. This is because of high levels of glucose in the body, which put a strain on the pancreas.
Several hormonal changes occur during pregnancy. The circulating hormones from the placenta shift nutrients from the mother’s body to the developing baby.
They prevent the blood sugar levels from becoming too low. This leads to progressive glucose intolerance, which manifests itself as gestational diabetes. As the placenta grows, more of these insulin impairing hormones are produced which increase the blood sugar to dangerous levels. This can affect the growth and development of the baby.
Doctors have suspected the role of insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels in cases of unexplained stillbirths. If you have had an unexplained stillbirth, your doctor will probably choose to monitor your pregnancy for high sugar levels.
Women who have previously given birth to very large babies are more at risk for developing gestational diabetes. Mothers whose babies weighed more than 9 pounds are more at risk in their future pregnancies. The reasons for this are not clearly known.
It is said that pregnancies after the age of 35 are complicated and can give rise to a host of pregnancy complications like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. This is because of the general slowdown in the body processes. Despite this gestational diabetes can be controlled during pregnancy by following a strict diet.