Gestational diabetes is a pregnancy complication that must be given special attention throughout a woman’s entire pregnancy. This complication can affect any expectant mother, without any known reason or prior blood sugar issues. With appropriate diagnosis and care, controlling blood sugar throughout pregnancy can prevent issues with the growing baby, the mother, and the entire pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes is just one more reason why prenatal care is so important. At each prenatal visit, expectant women are asked to give a urine sample to assess bladder or kidney infections, diabetes, dehydration, and preeclampsia by screening for high levels of bacteria, sugars, proteins, and ketones. Women who miss appointments are at a higher risk for the unknown development of gestational diabetes due to irregular assessment of sugar levels. If you develop gestational diabetes, it will be important to be closely monitored throughout the rest of your pregnancy in order to keep a close eye on your blood sugar level and your baby’s health. It will also be important to watch your blood sugar after pregnancy, as women who develop gestational diabetes are more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
While there is no known cause for gestational diabetes, there are certain risk factors that put some women at greater risk: women over the age of 25, family history, previous gestational diabetes, being significantly overweight, and being Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, or Black.
It is imperative to be closely monitored if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes because of the increased risk of complications. Excessive birth weight is a common issue due to extra glucose passing to the baby; this can lead to very large babies and require a C-section birth. Preterm birth can also be caused by a mother’s high blood sugar level. A large preterm baby can suffer just as many complications as a small preterm baby. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can affect babies shortly after birth because they are used to receiving a high level of sugar, yet after birth their sugar levels bottom out. Babies of mothers who have gestational diabetes are also at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes themselves later in life.
Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A. provides outstanding obstetrical care including gestational diabetes testing and management. Contact our practice to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. We look forward to providing the best prenatal care.