Early symptoms of gestational diabetes
The early symptoms of gestational diabetes (GD) are often mild and otherwise not perceptible. However, when there are noticeable symptoms, they may include:
· Blurry vision.
· Bladder, vagina, skin, and other recurring infections.
· Increased thirst.
· Increased urination.
· Weight loss in spite of increased appetite.
Gestational diabetes and its symptoms – when there are any – occur when the placenta produces hormones that block insulin during pregnancy. As a result, a pregnant woman’s blood sugar (glucose) levels may increase. Glucose tends to return to normal levels after childbirth, but complications are nevertheless possible for both mother and infant.
Complications of gestational diabetes
For the mother
· High blood pressure.
· Type 2 diabetes in the future.
· An extra large baby that has to be delivered via Cesarean section.
For the baby
· Excessive birth weight; a large baby delivered through the birth canal can injure nerves in its shoulder; break its clavicle; or, seldom, experience brain damage from lack of oxygen.
· Premature birth.
· Respiratory distress syndrome.
· Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
· Obesity and type 2 diabetes in the future.
GD can affect any woman, but some are at a higher risk of developing this condition, especially if they:
· Are older than 25 years of age.
· Have a personal or family history of prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes.
· Are overweight or obese.
· Are black, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian.
· Had a baby weighing more than 9 lbs.
· Are being treated for HIV.
Doctors usually test for GD at the 24th or 28th week of pregnancy because gestational diabetes generally appears mid-pregnancy – unless the mother-to-be presents a risk factor such as a body mass index of 30 or higher before pregnancy, in which case the doctor may opt to test for diabetes at the first prenatal visit. It is important to monitor blood sugar before, during, and after pregnancy in order to prevent/manage GD in the present as well as in the future.
Prevention/management of gestational diabetes
· Talk to a doctor about reducing the risk of GD before pregnancy.
· Exercise regularly.
· Eat healthily.
· Keep a healthy weight.
· Attend all prenatal care doctor’s appointments.
· Test for diabetes 6-12 weeks after childbirth, and then every 1-3 years.
· Take medications – including insulin – as prescribed by a physician.
· Carry hard candy, glucose tablets, or another rapid source of sugar.
· Wear a medical bracelet indicating you have diabetes.
· Difficult paying attention.
· Yeast infections.