Gestational Diabetes

About Gestational Diabetes

When you eat, your digestive system breaks most of your food down into a type of sugar called glucose. Glucose provides fuel for your cells with the help of a hormone called insulin. During pregnancy, fluctuating hormones can make it difficult for your body to use insulin, causing your pancreas to produce more of it. For most moms-to be, when their need for insulin increases, their pancreas simply secretes more of it. But when your pancreas can't keep up with the insulin demand and your have too much glucose in your blood, the result is gestational diabetes.

Risks

The main concern with gestational diabetes is that too much glucose can end up in your baby's blood, causing its pancreas to produce more insulin and ultimately resulting in your baby putting on extra weight. This can cause your baby to be too large to enter the birth canal, and may require special maneuvers to deliver your baby. If your doctor sees that your baby is measuring larger than normal, he or she may recommend a cesarean section delivery.

Treatment

Many women control gestational diabetes with diet and exercise, occasionally requiring insulin shots. If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, stick with you doctor’s guidelines, which may include:
  • Monitoring your blood sugar regularly.
  • Working with your physician or nutritionist to figure out a diet geared to your personal needs and tastes, and sticking to your diet.
  • Maintaining stable blood sugar by eating six to eight small meals a day, following an exercise program and eating complex carbohydrates and protein.
  • Taking insulin or pills if your doctor determines that diet and exercise are not enough to control your blood sugar.
  • Keeping your doctor's appointments. Prenatal care is important in any pregnancy, but especially when you have gestational diabetes, as insulin and sugar levels change due to changing weight and hormones.
It may be difficult to avoid eating whatever you want when you’re pregnant, but the good news is that gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby arrives. And after making it through successful pregnancy managing gestational diabetes, you may even deserve a milkshake or two.