All You Need To Know About Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of high blood sugar condition commonly affecting pregnant women. It is also called Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM).

Who is at a higher risk? 

Ethnicity, family history, maternal and parental age, syndromes, previous glucose intolerance diagnosis, and obesity are the factors that cause gestational diabetes. Women between the age group of 25 to 35 having high blood pressure are at a higher risk of gestational diabetes. Gaining more weight than usual during pregnancy can be a factor leading to gestational diabetes. Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome or conditions similar to it which lead to insulin resistance are likely to develop gestational diabetes. A family history of diabetes can be a possible genetic factor facilitating the development of the disease. Generally, it is common in Native Americans, East Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Africans. Women expecting multiple babies or giving birth to a child weighing more than 9 pounds are likely to develop gestational diabetes mellitus.

How does the condition develop?

In the human body, carbohydrates from food sources are metabolized to glucose that travels through the body by blood. The pancreas is responsible for the release of insulin hormone that controls the levels of glucose in the human body. During pregnancy, there is an overall increase in hormones such as human placental lactogen (HPLC). Along with estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and human placental growth hormone that resist the production of insulin. That is why pregnant women are resistant to insulin causing an overall increase in glucose levels.  It leads to the development of pre-eclampsia that increases the blood pressure in the pregnant mother and the amount of protein in the urine. Gestational diabetes can increase the chances of surgical operation to remove the baby. Along with placental hormones, tumor necrosis factor-alpha is also responsible for insulin resistance in pregnant mothers.

Common symptoms of Gestational Diabetes  

Symptoms of gestational diabetes include unexplained fatigue, excessive urination, impairment in vision, immoderate hunger, and thirst. The disease has two types, class A1 gestational diabetes and class A2 gestational diabetes. Class A1 gestational diabetes are easy to control by proper diet plans, whereas class A2 requires medications for controlling the condition.

How to prevent gestational diabetes?

It can be managed by monitoring the uptake of food sources. A diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can prevent gestational diabetes. Food items rich in carbohydrates such as whole grains, milk, beans, starchy vegetables, peas, leguminous crops, low-sugar fruits, and brown rice should be included in the diet plan to reduce gestational diabetes. Protein sources such as poultry, tofu, milk, cheese, and eggs are crucial for pregnant women who have gestational diabetes. Sources of fat like nuts, almonds, peanuts, olive oil, and avocados must be consumed in ample amounts.

Women suffering from gestational diabetes should avoid sweetened beverages, alcoholic beverages, sweetened oatmeal, fried foods, and baked items containing excess sugar. Regular exercise and a properly balanced diet can reduce the chances of gestational diabetes. Exercise, yoga, running, pilates, and walking are effective to treat the disease. Insulin injections are in administration during chronic conditions to pregnant women. Taking vitamin D supplements facilitates its prevention.

Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus 

The American Diabetes Association advises routine checkups of pregnant women during 24 to 28 weeks to detect gestational diabetes. Blood tests and urine tests are useful to detect the levels of blood sugar in the body. Urine tests detect the presence of glucosuria. In a one-step test, a woman is given a carbohydrate-rich solution to test fasting blood sugar levels at regular intervals of one hour. If the fasting blood sugar is greater than 92 milligrams per deciliter, the patient is likely to have gestational diabetes. In a two-step test, fasting is not necessary. If the blood report shows blood sugar more than 130 milligrams per deciliter, the patient has GDM.

Prognosis of gestational diabetes 

The disease can cause severe complications like macrosomia in the child. Along with premature death of the baby, hypoglycemia in the baby, and deficiency of minerals in the newborn child. Mothers delivering children after gestational diabetes are at a greater risk of acquiring diabetes mellitus. The child born to affect mothers may have jaundice, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.


Gestational diabetes is a type of high blood sugar condition commonly affecting pregnant women. The disease is of two categories, class A1 and class A2 gestational diabetes. Type A1 gestational diabetes includes abnormal oral glucose tolerance levels. While type A2 includes abnormal oral glucose tolerance tests and glucose levels. Ethnicity, family history, maternal and parental age, syndromes, and obesity are a few factors that potentially cause the onset of gestational diabetes. The disease is easier to control by following a diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and triglycerides. Rather than oral medications and insulin. It is good to avoid sweetened beverages, alcoholic beverages, and sweetened baked items if suffering from gestational diabetes.

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