Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women typically during the third trimester. Most women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes have never experienced or are predisposed to having symptoms of diabetes. In fact, all of a sudden pregnant women may have an excessive amount of glucose in their bloodstream. Especially, after ingesting high amounts of sugar or simple carbohydrates. It appears that the insulin receptors start malfunctioning or stop functioning properly which causes a high amount of glucose to be found in the bloodstream. Untreated gestational diabetes can be harmful to you and your unborn baby. It is important to follow your doctors orders and do your best to manage the amount of sugar or simple carbohydrates that you ingest.
Disclosure: This post is for informational purpose only and if you have any further questions about gestational diabetes you should contact your OB/GYN as soon as possible to discuss your questions or concerns.
How Does Your Doctor Determine If You Are At Risk or Have Gestational Diabetes?
Most doctors will perform a simple blood test that measures the amount of glucose in your blood stream after you drink a sugary drink, that is only available from your doctors office or by prescription. Typically, most doctors perform the glucose tolerance test between 24 and 28 weeks gestation. Your doctor will have you drink a strong sugary drink that contains 50 grams of glucose. The drink will taste similar to flat soda depending on the flavor that your doctor has available. Most doctors will perform the test after you have fasted overnight or for 8 hours. After they give you the drink, you have to drink all of it within 5 minutes. Once you have finished the drink, the lab will draw your blood after one hour to check your glucose levels. Try to avoid throwing up the drink so that you don’t have to come back on another day to repeat the test.
What Happens If I Am Borderline or Fail the One-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test?
If you are borderline or fail the one-hour glucose test, try not to panic. Only a small percentage of pregnant women will actually have gestational diabetes. Your doctor’s office will perform a three hour glucose screening test to determine how your body is handling large amounts of glucose. You will have to fast the night before the test and you can’t have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before your test. Once you arrive at the lab or the doctor’s office, they will draw your blood and then give you the sugary drink. Again, you will have to drink it within 5 minutes so that you can have your blood drawn several times over the next three hours.. Do your best not to throw it up so that you don’t have to repeat the test. If you feel sick after you have completed your test, do your best to avoid high amounts of carbohydrates and eat lots of protein to counter-balance all of the sugar that you ingested.
Managing Gestational Diabetes Through Diet
If you en up being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is important that you eat a variety of foods and skip on the foods that are high in simple carbohydrates. Your doctor may set up a meal plan for you or send you to a nutritionist. The nutritionist often is there to help you plan your meals for the remainder of your pregnancy and to make sure that you know how to properly maintain your sugar levels throughout the day. It is best to eat 3 to 5 smaller meals throughout the day and eat several small snacks between meals so that you can keep your blood sugars constant throughout the day. Eating breakfast is very important because this is when your blood sugars are likely to be out of whack. Never skip meals or partake of meals that are high in simple carbohydrates such as soda, candy, sugar, milk, flavored teas, and desserts. If you do partake in these types of items, do so in moderation to avoid sugar spikes.
Managing Gestational Diabetes With Medication
Some moms are unable to control their sugars through diet alone and need artificial medication to help lower the amount of sugar in their body. Insulin is used to quickly reduce the amount of sugar in your body. Your body uses glucose as fuel and when it is too high your body has trouble using the glucose as fuel. The insulin works by reducing the amount of glucose in your body to safe levels so that it can move into your cells to be used as energy. If you are given insulin, you will need to work closely with your doctor or dietitian. They will teach you how to properly take your blood sugar and make sure that you are eating properly. Once you take your blood sugar, you will learn how much insulin to inject into your body depending on your blood sugar readings. Taking too much insulin can cause problems with low blood sugar.
Signs and Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes can cause complications for both mother and baby if it is left untreated. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of gestational diabetes, even though your blood work tested negative. The signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes are:
- Frequent infections
- Increased thirst
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased urine output
- Blurred vision
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, contact your doctor immediately to rule out any pregnancy based complications. Untreated gestational diabetes often leads to larger babies, once your baby is born he or she has a hard time controlling their own blood sugar, and often have problems with jaundice.
How did you manage your gestational diabetes? Did you have any signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes before you were diagnosed?