Pregnancy diabetes or gestational diabetes is diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy in one in 20 pregnant women.
It is possible that this diabetes “set in” before the pregnancy, without the future mother realizing it, as it can develop due to pregnancy. In either case, the mother-to-be must be well informed because gestational diabetes has both short- and long-term effects for her and her baby.
What is this?
Throughout her pregnancy, a woman undergoes hormonal changes that promote the growth of the fetus. The hormones that the placenta secretes interfere with the body's ability to use insulin. As the placenta grows, its production of hormones increases, making it harder for insulin to work.
These changes tend to raise the mother-to-be's blood sugar to the point that her insulin needs double or triple what she needed before. If his body fails to produce enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood, which increases blood sugar levels and gestational diabetes sets in. This phenomenon, which affects approximately 5% of pregnancies, appears most of the time in the lasttrimester and disappears after delivery in 90% of cases.
Women at risk
Several factors are at the origin of gestational diabetes: first the ethnic origin of the future mother and the quantity of food she consumes. For example, Asian Indians, African Americans, or New Zealand Maoris are statistically more at risk than white European or American women. Women who are very obese, over the age of 30, or who have a family history of diabetes are also predisposed to gestational diabetes. Naturally, a woman who has already developed diabetes in a previous pregnancy is likely to experience the same situation in a subsequent pregnancy.
The woman who is already diabetic and who wishes to become pregnant must meet her doctor before conception to create the ideal conditions for a normal pregnancy.
Pregnant women often don't have any of the symptoms of diabetes: thirst, unusual tiredness, more frequent urges to urinate, weight loss rather than weight gain weight. His blood sugar levels may still be too high. A simple urine test during pregnancy follow-up visits can detect the presence of glucose. If there have been previous cases of diabetes in the family, if the woman is overweight or if she has already given birth to a child weighing more than 4 kilos, the doctor will want to go further by ordering an analysis.of blood. Ideally, this blood test will be carried out around the 28th week of pregnancy in order to be able to intervene in time.
One of the screening tests performed between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy consists of drinking a drink that contains 75g of glucose and taking three blood samples, once directly after absorption and twice every hour). Other doctors prefer a single blood test one hour after ingesting a 50g dose of glucose and will go further in testing only in cases of high results.
By respecting an appropriate diet and a he althy lifestyle (sleep, naps, exercises), it is possible to reduce the risk of diabetes. A dietitian can provide you with an eating plan appropriate to your condition and a list of foods to avoid.
Mamanpourlavie.com offers you an article on the main food rules. If, despite everything, blood sugar levels are still too high, insulin treatment is generally recommended in 20 to 40% of cases. The injections can be stopped as soon as the child is born, provided that blood sugar levels have returned to normal, of course.
And baby in all this?
Gestational diabetes, whether low or high, can cause overdevelopment (macrosomy) of the baby, which often leads to a cesarean section because the baby is too heavy. As the amniotic fluid is moreabundant in diabetic women, delivery can occur prematurely. In addition, the child will be predisposed to being overweight and developing type 2 diabetes.
If the mother's fasting blood sugar level is too high, the baby is also at risk of suffering from hypoglycemia immediately after birth, just as he is more likely to have jaundice or even difficulty breathing. The risk of prenatal mortality is also higher.
Pregnancy diabetes can also cause high blood pressure in the mother (pre-eclampsia), which directly affects the growth of the baby. These risks are greatly reduced if the future mother is treated to lower her blood sugar level.
And after pregnancy?
Women who have suffered from gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If the woman is overweight and does not exercise, the risk increases further. Fortunately, treating high blood sugar during pregnancy decreases these risks and increases the chances of successful future pregnancies.