Diabetes during pregnancy is known as Gestational Diabetes and is usually detected in the second half of your pregnancy. However, it can occur during any time of the pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes occurs when your body doesn't provide enough insulin to ensure the needs of you and your baby are met during pregnancy. Insulin is a hormone which regulates and controls your blood sugar levels.
Am I at Risk of Gestational Diabetes?
During pregnancy, any woman can be at risk of gestational diabetes but the following points are things that can increase your risk and make your chances a lot higher of having it.
- If you have previously had gestational diabetes in a past pregnancy,
- If one of your parents or siblings has diabetes,
- If your body mass index (BMI) is above 30 and,
- If your previous babies have weighed 10 lbs or more at birth.
Do I Have Gestational Diabetes?
You will be tested for gestational diabetes around 24-28 weeks pregnant. Unless they feel necessary to test earlier. They may test earlier if they already can see signs you could be high risk. This test is known as an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
Many woman only find out they have gestational diabetes through the screening tests but there are some key indications of this and you should always get these checked out by your healthcare professional if you're experiencing any of the following. All of the below can be seen as a symptom of pregnant so don't panic if you're ticking all the boxes.
- Needing to go to the toilet for a wee more often,
- Increased thirst or a constant feeling of needing a drink and
- A dry mouth.
How Can Gestational Diabetes Affect My Pregnancy?
Even with gestational diabetes, you can have a healthy pregnancy and baby. There may be a few complications you could experience:
Pre-eclampsia is a condition that causes high blood pressure and is often paired with swelling in the feet, legs and hands.
This can be when you give birth anywhere before the 37th week of pregnancy.
Polyhydramnios is when you are carrying too much amniotic fluid around the baby during pregnancy.
You have chances of carrying a larger baby and the risks during the delivery are increased.
Your baby has higher risks of being born with jaundice or low blood sugars.
Can Gestational Diabetes Be Treated?
Your blood sugar levels can often be controlled by making small changes to your diet and engaging in exercise. However, during pregnancy it is most common that you would need to be given treatment in order to keep this under control.
Your treatment can be through tablets or insulin injections. You will also be given an at home testing kit so you can keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and monitor the affect of your treatment. You will also be monitored closely after the diagnosis.