The expression “gestational diabetes” is pretty explanatory. From the label independently, you can figure out it has at least something related to diabetes and pregnancy, but you ought to do a little digging or consulting to discover exactly what it does to your body, how it’s caused, and how it’s handled. To spare you the struggle, we consulted with a pro for a complete breakdown on the health issue.
Based on Dr. Catherine Goodstein, a New York City-based Ob/Gyn, gestational diabetes, obesity or GDM, is a form of diabetes that’s diagnosed and screened for at the end of the second trimester of pregnancy. But she says if the individual has risk factors or has had GDM during a previous pregnancy, the screening can be accomplished as early as the first trimester.
“The screening includes providing patients a sugary drink and then seeing how their bodies respond to the beverage with a blood test that an hour later,” says Dr. Goodstein. Also, should they neglect the screening, Dr. Goodstein claims that they’ve had pre-gestational diabetes, which can be a diabetes which existed prior to pregnancy.
While it frequently goes away during the period of delivery, thus its title, Dr. Goodstein says there’s a possibility it could have lasting effects. “fourteen days after delivering a girl who’d GDM in pregnancy should be screened for type 2 diabetes. The test will be passed by many, but about 50 percent of women who have diabetes may go on to develop type 2 diabetes later in their lifetimes. GDM may also increase the rate of heart disease for women later in life.”
It can also have serious implications such as an increased rate of cesarean sections or an increased probability of delivering a infant, which could result in traumatic injuries.
“These babies are more likely to have low blood glucose and increased bilirubin, which may lead to jaundice,” she continues. “The great thing is that treating and diagnosing GDM can diminish these adverse effects.”
How does one treat GDM? First, as always, prevention is key. This may include before getting pregnant, keeping a healthy body weight. “If GDM is diagnosed, the first step in treatment is diet modification, especially following a low glycemic diet, something all of us must strive to perform,” says Dr. Goodstein. “If diet modifications aren’t enough to reduce a pregnant woman’s blood glucose, then medicines are added to lessen the sugars further. Exercise, even going for a walk after meals, can also be beneficial.”
As always, should you have questions or any concerns about GDM and how it can affect your health, ask your physician or a health professional.