Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is a condition where the body can't control blood glucose levels effectively because of incorrect insulin production or resistance to the insulin that is present. Or because of excess glucose intake. GDM is a specific form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and usually disappears once the baby is born. Although it is present during pregnancy, if you had diabetes in pregnancy, you are likely to develop it later in life as well. It is most common in women with a family history of Type 2 Diabetes, older or overweight women and some ethnic groups. If you have gestational diabetes for one pregnancy, you are more likely to have it in subsequent pregnancies.
Gestational Diabetes is usually detected by a Glucose Tolerance Test which is attended at 26 weeks of pregnancy. If your care provider feels that you are at high risk for developing gestational diabetes, they may ask to test you earlier than this. You'll be asked to fast before the test, which is done first thing in the morning. The pathologist will take some blood from you while you are fasting, and then give you a sweet drink. Thereafter, blood tests will be done one hour later and then two hours later. Bring a book to read, as the whole proces can take 2 - 2.5 hours.
Most people manage gestational diabetes through a low GI diet and exercise. Your care provider will work with you and provide you with much information in this. A small percentage of women will require insulin injections. All women with GDM will be asked to monitor their blood glucose levels at certain times during the day. This will indicate whether your diet and exercise program are efeective, or whether you would benefit from Insulin.
GDM usually doesn't affect the mother, but it can affect the baby. The baby may be larger than normal, and this may translate to problems during birth for you. Such as a longer labour. Your baby's blood sugar levels will be tested after birth to check for any abnormalities, but this is uncommon.
To reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, keep fit and healthy during your pregnancy with regular pregnancy exercise and a healthy diet. talk with your mdiwife or osbtetrician early on in your pregnancy(once your morning sickness has ceased) and aim for a diet that is low in complex carbohydrates and high in proten, healthy fat and fibrous vegetables.
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