Gestational Diabetes Complications – The Effects of the Disease

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) occurs during pregnancy and is characterized by an increase in blood sugar levels. As the causes of GDM are varied, doctors recommend every pregnant woman to get screened for this condition. If GDM is left undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to various gestational diabetes complications in the mother as well as the fetus.

gestational diabetes complications

Jaundice in the fetus or the newborn is one of the potential gestational diabetes complications.

Gestation Diabetes Complications You Need To Be Aware Of

  • Gestation Diabetes Complications In The Mother

    Gestational diabetes complications in the mother could include one or more of the following.

    • Vaginal bleeding: GDM may lead to the disruption of the placenta (the organ that links the blood circulation of the mother and the fetus) leading to vaginal bleeding. This may also cause pain in the abdomen
    • Premature labour: Diabetes during pregnancy may lead to the premature delivery of the baby
    • Cesarean deliveries: GDM often results in large sized babies. This could hamper vaginal delivery of the baby and call for a cesarean section delivery
    • Miscarriage
    • Hypertension
    • Development of diabetes at a later point in life
  • Gestation Diabetes Complications In The Fetus

    Gestational diabetes complications in the fetus include:

    • Macrosomia: Gestational diabetes increases the risk of the baby being large for its gestational age i.e. weighing more than 4kg. This is known as macrosomia and it is caused due to the over nutrition of the baby
    • Neonatal hypoglycemia  The baby’s blood sugar can drop very low after birth, since it does not receive the requisite amount of blood sugar from the mother
    • Increased risk of trauma to the baby during delivery due to its larger than normal size
    • Congenital malformations: Diabetes can affect the developing fetus throughout the pregnancy. In early pregnancy, diabetes in the mother can result in birth defects (often in the brain and heart) and an increased rate of miscarriage
    • Jaundice, which is caused due to the accumulation of a waste product called bilirubin in the baby’s blood
    • Respiratory distress syndrome: The baby’s lungs are not fully developed and cannot provide enough oxygen to the rest of their body, causing respiratory distress
    • Hypocalcemia, characterized by decreased levels of calcium in the baby
    • The possibility of the child growing up to be obese
    • Development of diabetes at a later point in life

    complications of gestational diabetes

    The complications of gestational diabetes may force the premature delivery of the baby.

With proper treatment, it is absolutely possible to have a healthy baby despite having gestational diabetes. If you’re an expectant mother, it is recommended that you get screened for GDM through a gestational diabetes test as per the advice of your obstetrician, to avoid potential gestational diabetes complications. Following a diet for gestational diabetes is also a step in the right direction.

How to Prevent Gestational Diabetes – Tips For a Safe Pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is a condition characterized by an increase in blood sugar levels, of various degrees, during pregnancy. GDM occurs when the body’s insulin supply is insufficient to regulate blood glucose levels.

how to prevent gestational diabetes

Get regular antenatal checkups and seek further advice from your obstetrician on how to prevent gestational diabetes.

How To Prevent Gestational Diabetes – Five Crucial Tips

Here are some tips to ensure a safe pregnancy that nullifies the risk of GDM:

  • Get A Regular Antenatal Checkup

    The diagnosis and treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus is important to avoid maternal and fetal complications. The gestational diabetes test can help in this regard. The American Diabetes Association recommends screening the expectant mother for GDM during her early antenatal visits if she belongs to the high risk group, or between the 24th and 28th week of her pregnancy if she has no history of GDM.

  • Reduce Weight By Increasing Your Physical Activity

    If you are overweight (BMI ≥ 25), decrease your body mass index (BMI) to a normal range before you get pregnant. This will lower your risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus. You can shed weight by:

    1. Increasing activities like walking, jogging, skipping, and swimming
    2. Walking continuously for 30 minutes everyday
    3. Using the stairs instead of the lift, as just 10 minutes of climbing stairs is equivalent to 30 minutes of walking
    4. Using bicycles instead of a motorized vehicle to cover short distances
    5. Minimizing TV watching
    6. Reducing the time spent playing computer games or aimless internet browsing
  • Lower Your Stress Levels

    1. Take up activities like yoga and meditation to relieve stress.
    2. Try stress busters like deep breathing exercises.
    3. Regularly practice relaxation techniques like listening to music.
  • Make Changes To Your Diet

    1. Ensure that your food intake is less than the amount of energy you spend.
    2. Include vegetables and greens in your meals.
    3. Eat plenty of fruits, but avoid fruit juices as far as possible.
    4. Increase the intake of foods rich in fiber and decrease the intake of foods rich in carbohydrates.
    5. Keep your consumption of foods rich in proteins and cereals at moderate levels.
    6. Minimize your intake of fried food and foods rich in fat.
    7. Avoid sweets and dairy products.
    8. Fight the temptation to snack between meals and while watching TV.
  • Plan Your Pregnancy

    gestational diabetes prevention

    It is important to avoid eating foods rich in sugar and fat for gestational diabetes prevention.

     

    If you have any risk factors like obesity, a family history of diabetes, previous abortions, or high blood pressure, consult your physician before planning a pregnancy.

GDM can occur in any pregnant woman. In some cases, it persists even after the duration of the pregnancy has passed. As a result, it is important to learn how to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus before planning to have a baby.

The Right Diet For Gestational Diabetes – Tips For Healthy Eating

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is characterized by an increase in blood sugar levels, and this occurs in various degrees. This type of diabetes is first detected during pregnancy through gestational diabetes symptoms. GDM occurs due to a drop in the supply of insulin, especially when the supply is inadequate to meet the tissue demands for normal blood glucose regulation. The condition can be managed by planning a good diet for gestational diabetes.

diet for gestational diabetes

A healthy breakfast is a must-have in a diet for gestational diabetes.

Why Follow A Diet For Gestational Diabetes?

Dietary modification plays a vital role in the management of gestational diabetes mellitus. This adds on to the advantages of treatment with insulin therapy by keeping the blood sugar levels under check. The main aims of dietary modifications are:

  • To maintain normal blood sugar levels
  • To maintain adequate nutrition
  • To maintain the desirable body mass index (BMI)

Framing A Diet For Gestational Diabetes

The major nutrients in any diet – carbohydrates, protein, and fat, have a net affect on blood glucose levels. For this reason, it is necessary to have the right balance of these nutrients in your diet. A balanced diet (that has all the vital nutrients), regular insulin, and physical activity are the three factors that help maintain best blood sugar levels.

It is also important to keep the carbohydrate content of the diet consistent on an everyday basis for the same reason. This is because carbohydrates are digested quickly and they often contribute to an increase in the blood sugar level.

The right diet for gestational diabetes should be a balanced diet that mainly contains carbohydrates (60-70%), fat (15-20%), proteins (20-25%), and dietary fibre (25gms/1000Kcal).

Tips For Charting A Diet For Gestational Diabetes

Here are some dos and don’ts you should note when it comes to choosing a gestational diabetes diet plan.

Remember that you should not:

  • Eat too much, without regular intervals
  • Drink soda or other sugary drinks
  • Eat fast foods frequently, or outside food
  • Eat high-fat dairy products
  • Eat unhealthy fats and oils
  • Buy red meat
  • Skip breakfast

Here’s what you should do:

  • Eat smaller servings at regular intervals
  • Drink water or diet drinks
  • Eat less fast food, no more than once a week
  • Prepare more meals at home
  • Switch to 1% or non-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, and frozen yogurt
  • Try fish, chicken, or turkey instead of red meat items
  • Switch to healthier oils like olive and canola
  • Plan and have a healthy breakfast every day

If diet management does not control your blood sugar levels, you may be prescribed insulin therapy. Most women who develop gestational diabetes will not need diabetes medicines or insulin, but some will. Ensure that you consult your doctor whenever you’re confused on what to include in your diet for gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms – Signs That Indicate A Problem

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition that is associated with an increase in blood sugar levels in a pregnant individual. Gestational diabetes symptoms are exhibited when the insulin supply in the body decreases to a level where it is inadequate to meet the demand for normal blood glucose regulation.

gestational diabetes symptoms

Blurred vision, caused by damage to the ocular blood vessels, is one of the gestational diabetes symptoms.

This problem varies from diabetes mellitus through the fact that it is first diagnosed during the pregnancy cycle.

The Main Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms associated with gestational diabetes that might indicate the presence of a problem. These can lead on to cause gestational diabetes complications over time. These have been given below.

Frequent Urination, Increased Thirst, Dry Mouth

Women who suffer from gestational diabetes will face the need to frequently urinate, to clear the excess sugar in the blood. Along with the clearance of glucose, the loss of water in the form of urine leads to dehydration. This results in the person experiencing intense thirst and a dry mouth.

Increased Hunger

Despite an adequate intake of food, gestational diabetes is characterized by an increase in hunger. This is due to the failure of the cells to utilise the glucose in the blood, due to the lack of insulin.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Women with gestational diabetes might significantly lose weight, and such weight loss might appear unintentional and in no way related to their diet or exercise routine. This is due to the inability of the cells to utilise glucose.

Fatigue

Feeling weak and tired even after completing minimal work is one of the main gestational diabetes symptoms.

Blurred Vision

Excess glucose in the blood causes damage to the blood vessels in the eyes. This leads to retinal damage, causing a disruption in normal vision.

Frequent Infections Of The Skin, Urinary Tract, Or Vagina

Elevated blood sugar levels lead to an increased amount of glucose in all bodily secretions. This also weakens the normal immunity of the body, causing frequent infections.

Nausea And Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting rank among the minor gestational diabetes symptoms. This symptom is independently non-conclusive, but points towards gestational diabetes when it accompanies the other symptoms.

If experience any of these symptoms during pregnancy, you should consult your healthcare provider so that further evaluation can be carried out through a glucose tolerance test. This gestational diabetes test is usually done to screen people for the condition. The risk factors which can cause GDM are:

  • Obesity
  • Family history of diabetes mellitus
  • Previous delivery of an overweight baby (more than 4 kilograms)
  • The presence of glucose in urine (glycosuria)

Once the gestational diabetes symptoms start showing, a glucose tolerance test can help in confirming the condition.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus – The Bare Basics About The Disorder

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) refers to an increase in blood sugar levels, to various degrees, during pregnancy. GDM occurs when the tissue demands for normal blood glucose regulation are not met due to inadequate insulin supply.

gestational diabetes mellitus

Gestational diabetes mellitus can lead to premature delivery of the baby.

The Risk Factors Of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

As a pregnant woman, you are at a high risk of GDM if you have:

  • A history of obesity
  • A family history of Diabetes Mellitus
  • Previously delivered a baby that weighed more than 4 kilograms
  • Glycosuria, a condition in which there is glucose in your urine
  • Auto antibodies, which are self-destructing entities that obstruct the pancreas development by destroying beta cells
  • Certain infections like acanthosis

The Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

This condition is represented by the following gestational diabetes symptoms:

  • Frequent urination, increased thirst, dryness in the mouth
  • Increased hunger
  • Inexplicable weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections of the skin, urinary tract, or vagina
  • Nausea and vomiting

How To Diagnose Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is diagnosed by conducting an oral glucose tolerance test. The American Diabetes Association recommends that this gestational diabetes test be conducted during the initial antenatal visit (for women with high risk factors) or between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy (in women with no previous history of GDM).

The Complications Of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Gestational diabetes complications can affect both the mother and the fetus.

Complications In The Mother

These are the complications that pregnant women with GDM can face.

  1. Vaginal Bleeding: GDM may lead to the disruption of the placenta (the organ that supports the blood circulation of the mother and the fetus), leading to vaginal bleeding. This may also cause pain in the abdomen.
  2. Premature Labor:  Diabetes during pregnancy may lead to premature delivery of the baby.
  3. Cesarean Deliveries: GDM often results in overweight babies, and this could make it impossible or tough for the mother to have a normal vaginal delivery. Delivery through a Cesarean section is recommended in such cases.
  4. Miscarriage: There is a higher than normal risk of miscarriage.
  5. Hypertension: The mother may be prone to hypertension.
  6. Recurrence Of Diabetes: Diabetes may occur again later in life.

Complications In The Fetus

These are the complications that GDM can cause in the fetus.

  1. Macrosomia: Gestational Diabetes Mellitus increases the risk of the baby being large for its gestational age, i.e. weighing more than 4 kg  This is known as macrosomia and it is caused by over-nutrition.
  2. Neonatal Hypoglycemia: The baby’s blood sugar can drop to very low levels after birth, since it doesn’t receive the requisite blood sugar from the mother.
  3. Trauma: There is an increased risk of trauma to the baby during delivery.
  4. Congenital Malformations: Diabetes can affect the developing fetus throughout the pregnancy. In early pregnancy, a mother’s diabetic condition can result in birth defects and an increased rate of miscarriage. Many of the birth defects that occur affect major organs such as the brain and heart.
  5. Jaundice: GDM can cause an accumulation of a waste product called bilirubin in the baby’s blood, which can in turn can cause jaundice.
  6. Respiratory Distress Syndrome: In many cases,The baby’s lungs are not fully developed and cannot provide enough oxygen to the rest of his body.
  7. Low Calcium Levels: The calcium levels in the baby’s body are decreased.
  8. Obesity: There is a possibility that the child will grow up to be obese.
  9. Recurrence Of Diabetes: The baby may get diabetes again later in life.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Treatment Options

Reducing your weight, following a low-cal diet for gestational diabetes, and getting regular insulin doses can go a long way in helping you counter GDM. With proper treatment, you can deliver a healthy baby despite having diabetes.

If you take proper precautionary measures against gestational diabetes mellitus, especially if you are a high risk candidate, you can make sure that you have a smooth delivery and a normal baby.

Gestational Diabetes Test – Diagnostic Test for Confirmation

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is a condition in which the blood sugar levels increase to various degrees during pregnancy. GDM occurs due to decreased and hence inadequate insulin supply, to meet the tissue demands for normal blood glucose regulation. This condition should be immediately detected through a test in order to avoid gestational diabetes complications in the mother or the fetus.

gestational diabetes test

The gestational diabetes test helps detect if an expecting mother has acquired diabetes during pregnancy.

The Gestational Diabetes Test

During pregnancy, it is important to undergo blood glucose screening at the initial antepartum visit. If this step has been omitted for any reason, it is wise to have your blood glucose tested as soon as possible.

Gestational Diabetes Test – Those In The High Risk Group

Certain women face a higher risk of gestational diabetes than the rest, such as:

  • Women battling obesity
  • Those with a family history of Diabetes Mellitus
  • Women who have previously had a baby that weighed more than 4 kilograms
  • Those with glycosuria i.e. a condition in which glucose is present in the urine

It is advised to get your blood sugar tested between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, if you were not diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus during previous prenatal checks. This is just a screening process that will help you be sure of your physical condition.

What Happens During The Gestational Diabetes Test

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends screening for GDM during the initial prenatal visit, for women in the high risk groups.

This test is mainly a 50 gram oral glucose test performed in the patients with high risk factors. It does not need any prior preparation and can be done at any time of the day.

The blood glucose level is measured one hour after the test. If the blood glucose levels are ≥ 140 mg/dl or ≥ 7.8 mmol/l, an oral glucose tolerance test is carried out.

The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

This gestational diabetes test is recommended by the American Diabetes Association. It is carried out during the early prenatal visits in the case of women from high-risk groups, and sometime between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy in others.

If you are planning to undergo this gestational diabetes test, you should fast for at least 8 hours before the test. At the start of the test, 75 g of glucose is administered orally. The test is interpreted as follows:

 

Time

Blood glucose in mg/dl

Blood glucose in mmol/l

Fasting

≥92

≥5.1

At 1 hour

≥180

≥10

At 2 hours

≥153

≥8.5

The values shown in the table indicate a positive glucose tolerance test. If you test positive for gestational diabetes, treatment measures will be started immediately to avoid complications in both your health and the health of the fetus. These treatment measures include framing a right diet for gestational diabetes and the administration of insulin.

While some women face a higher risk of suffering GDM, this condition can occur in any woman during pregnancy. For this reason, it is highly recommended that pregnant women undergo the gestational diabetes test, to avoid harm to themselves as well as their fetus and ensure the birth a healthy baby.