Gestational Diabetes affects nearly 4% of pregnant women each year. Women who are not diagnosed as being diabetic prior to pregnancy are usually considered to have gestational Diabetes. Gestational diabetes can not only lead to problems for the mother, but for the baby as well. If left untreated, it can cause the baby to gain excess weight due to the amount of glucose that the placenta and baby must process. It can also lead to problems post partum, such as RDS (Respiratory Distress Syndrome), obesity later in life, and a higher risk of developing diabetes themselves. It can also increase your risk of stillbirth.
Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed with the help of a test to measure your blood sugar quantum, usually between your 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. First, the doctor will have you drink a bottle of a sugar drink and then wait a set period of time before taking your blood to measure how well your body responds. The first test is usually just one blood draw approximately 1 hour after you consume the drink. If the results are inconclusive, the doctor may ask you to come back for another test, where your blood is drawn three times, and one hour apart.
Gestational diabetes can be controlled by diet and exercise as well as by insulin injection or pill. Doctors don’t know what causes some women to have gestational diabetes. Some women have it only for one, some, or all pregnancies. I myself had no problem with my first child, but developed gestational diabetes with my second and controlled it by diet and exercise.