Diabetes in Pregnancy or gestational diabetes, also known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) or pregnancy-induced diabetes, is a condition in which a woman without a prior history of diabetes develops Diabetes in Pregnancy. Ideal blood sugar levels during pregnancy increase, resulting in pregnancy-induced diabetes. It commonly starts during the last three months of pregnancy. Approximately 2-5% of women develop Diabetes in Pregnancy. In 90% of the cases, pregnancy-induced diabetes resolves after childbirth. Nevertheless, these women are at a higher risk of developing diabetes in the future.
Diabetes in Pregnancy is a medical emergency. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to serious complications during pregnancy and can affect the baby’s health.
The primary cause of Diabetes in Pregnancy is hormonal changes. The change in hormone levels during pregnancy makes the body difficult to regulate insulin-like it normally should. This leads to a rise in blood glucose levels, which eventually leads to diabetes. Diabetes in Pregnancy can be hereditary. It means, if parents have pregnancy-induced diabetes, it can also be inherited to the next generation.
Factors that increase the chance of developing Diabetes in Pregnancy are:
All women with Diabetes in Pregnancy may not exhibit symptoms; however, some of the symptoms that can be noticed include:
Ideal blood sugar levels during pregnancy are checked to determine pregnancy-induced diabetes. Investigation tests that are performed to diagnose gestational diabetes include:
Non-challenge blood tests: They include,
Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): This test is done in the morning after an overnight fast for 8 to 14 hours. During this test, the individual is given a solution containing a certain amount of glucose. Blood glucose levels are checked 1 hour after drinking the solution.
Urinary glucose testing: High glucose levels in the urine during pregnancy also suggest gestational diabetes. Increased glomerular filtration rates during pregnancy contribute to high glucose levels in the urine.
The diagnosis of Diabetes in Pregnancy or gestational diabetes is made considering the results of the investigation tests.
The main aim of treatment is to control ideal blood sugar levels during pregnancy. In the majority of cases, Diabetes in Pregnancy is cured with dietary changes and exercise. Insulin therapy is also required. Dietary changes include dividing carbohydrates intake into small portions throughout the day. Consuming food rich in fibre such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Gestational diabetes can be reversed. The woman can have a healthy pregnancy and prevent type 2 diabetes later in life by following an appropriate diet plan. In the majority of the cases, women gain weight with gestational diabetes, however, 25% of the women lose weight.
Medical treatment for Diabetes in Pregnancy include:
A combination of medications and insulin therapy is also used.
Lifestyle changes with Diabetes in Pregnancy include:
Preventive measures for Diabetes in Pregnancy include:
Though gestational diabetes is not dangerous it causes major complications during pregnancy like the following.
The overall prognosis of gestational diabetes varies from woman to woman. In most cases, gestational diabetes goes away after the delivery. It may recur again in future pregnancies. The risk of recurrence is higher if the next pregnancy occurs within a year. It is also important to note that in a few cases, gestational diabetes does not go away even after childbirth. The individual should continue to exercise and eat a healthy diet even after delivery to prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes.
It is always advisable to get routine blood sugar checkups after being pregnant. On noticing abnormal blood glucose levels, appropriate prenatal care is required to be initiated by the medical practitioner.
Diabetes in Pregnancy or gestational diabetes does not require any hospitalization.
Routine screening is done for all women who are pregnant. Screening glucose challenge test is performed around 24–28 weeks of pregnancy. If the woman has a family history of diabetes or other risk factors, a screening test is done earlier in pregnancy. In recent times, it has been mandatory to get checked for Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy. In very rare cases, gestational diabetes may be misdiagnosed and treatment would be provided for individuals who do not have the disease. This can lead to serious complications for the mother and the baby.
Departments that are consulted for Diabetes in Pregnancy are endocrinology and obstetrics and gynecology.