13 Apr

Gestational diabetes

Gestational Diabetes is diabetes that is diagnosed at the start or during pregnancy.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is caused by a malfunction in the way our body breakdowns glucose/sugar. Glucose is an important metabolic function to our bodies because it dictates growth and energy. When glucose passes through the bloodstream it relies on insulin, that is a hormone produced by the Pancreas, to break it down to release growth and energy. If your body is producing insulin accurately, it will automatically produce enough to breakdown glucose. When you are diabetic your body produces little or no insulin and energy is lost because it exits out of the body through urine.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes causes high levels of blood sugar, which can be harmful to both you and your baby. In most cases your blood sugar returns to normal after the baby is born.

Although the direct cause of Gestational Diabetes is unknown, the main influencing factor is increased hormones and growth of the placenta, which disturbs the balance of the hormone insulin, within the body. Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes include: being 25 years of age or older; Family or Self predisposition; being Overweight; and being Non-White.

Generally, you are tested for diabetes by the use of a Glucose Tolerance Drink. This very sweet, bottled solution is caffeine free and usually non-carbonated, although there are carbonated options. Usually the pregnant patient drinks this drink when they are 20 weeks are greater in their pregnancy. After the solution is consumed, they have to wait an hour. After the hour their blood is taken and blood sugar is tested. A normal blood sugar range is below 130 to 140 milligrams per deciliter. If your sugar is higher than normal,  you will be asked to take a follow up test. The follow up test involves fasting overnight and blood test taken  pre and post drink. Your blood will then be tested every hour for a period of three hours. You will be diagnosed as having Gestational Diabetes if two of three test are  higher than normal.

For more information about Gestational Diabetes, please visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gestational-diabetes/DS00316

April B.