If your blood sugar levels become higher than normal during your pregnancy you may be at risk of developing gestational diabetes, a condition that can occur in the second trimester of pregnancy and will generally return to normal shortly after delivery. You may experience intense thirst, hunger or tiredness occasionally, but it is normal not to experience any symptoms. During the 28th week of pregnancy, your obstetrician will screen for gestational diabetes by a fasting blood glucose test to examine your glucose levels. Other tests may be needed to confirm a diagnosis such as an oral glucose tolerance test or screening glucose challenge test.
The high blood sugar levels associated with gestational diabetes can affect the mother as well as the growth and development of the baby. It is a condition that can be controlled with changes in diet, regular exercise and by monitoring the glucose level through regular blood tests. There may be cases where the use of insulin will be needed to control blood sugar levels. If left unmanaged, gestational diabetes can increase the risk of:
- • Pre-eclampsia
- • Pre-term delivery
- • Caesarean section
- • Oversized baby
The new-born may be at risk of:
- • Low blood sugar
- • Breathing difficulties
- • Jaundice
Gestational diabetes may go away after the birth of your baby, though it will increase the risk of developing diabetes later in life. This means it is important to eat a balanced and nutritious diet, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Your obstetrician can aid you in developing healthy habits during and after pregnancy.
For more information about gestational diabetes or any other pregnancy-related conditions, contact Western Specialist Centre in Melbourne.