Gestational diabetes mellitus

Gestational diabetes is a disease condition in which women develop diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar level) at the time of pregnancy. About 2-4 % of pregnant women suffer from this condition during their pregnancy.

gestational diabetes

This disorder is a common medical complication that occurs with pregnancy.

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Every woman has some degree of changes in blood glucose levels as a result of a change in hormones during pregnancy.

At the time of pregnancy, placenta plays a very important role in the formation of hormones required for shifting of nutrients from the mother to the developing fetus. Some hormones of placenta help in preventing the mother from developing low blood sugar. They resist the action of insulin.

But over the course of pregnancy, these hormones keep on increasing impaired glucose intolerance. On trying to reduce blood sugar levels, the body starts making more insulin.
The pancreas of mother starts producing more insulin to decrease the effect of pregnancy hormones on blood sugar levels. In cases where the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin blood, sugar levels rise which results in diabetes during the pregnancy.

Age/Sex prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus
The disease affects almost 3-10% of pregnancies.

Races affected by gestational diabetes mellitus
Women of any race can be affected by gestational diabetes.

Causes of gestational diabetes mellitus
Women having following risk factors are more prone to develop gestational diabetes mellitus
• PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease)
• Already diabetic patient
• Family history of diabetes
• Overweight, obese
• Mothers giving birth after the age of 35 are moot the on the risk of having gestational diabetes.
• Poor obstetric history
• Smoking mothers
Gestational diabetes mellitus sign and symptoms

Investigations of gestational diabetes mellitus
Non challenge blood glucose test to be done
• Fasting glucose test
• Random glucose test
• 2-hour postprandial test
Screening glucose challenge test
Oral glucose tolerance test
Urinary glucose testing

Treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus
Proper and regular monitoring of the levels of sugar is required.
Care needs to be taken to even controlling low blood sugar levels.
Medications to be given to control sugar levels.

Prognosis of gestational diabetes mellitus
Gestational diabetes is resolved and as baby is born.

Complications of gestational diabetes mellitus
Gestational diabetes mellitus is a major risk to both mother and child. Some of the complications are as follows
• Intrauterine growth retardation
• Babies born by mothers of gestational diabetes are risk of developing
Jaundice
High blood cell mass
Low calcium levels
High magnesium levels
Respiratory distress syndrome
Birth defects

Diet and management of gestational diabetes mellitus

The purpose of treatment and management is to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus to both mother and child
• Split the carbohydrate intake over meals and snacks throughout the day.
• Take more fiber containing diet like foods with whole grains, fruits vegetables.
• Regular moderate physical exercise
• Regular check up of blood sugar levels at home
• Drink plenty of water
• Reduce stress

For more information, you can visit NHS UK and Wikipedia.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

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