Can Gestational Diabetes Affect Your Baby?

by Jonathan D'souza

Gestational diabetesis a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It may cause many health problems, including a 50 percent chance of women developing type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years after delivery.What Is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have  high blood sugar levels, as the body is unable to make and utilize the insulin during pregnancy. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps keep your blood sugar levels from getting too high(hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia).While the hormones from the placenta support the babys growth, they also causeinsulin resistance in a mother's bodywhich is why the body requires three times more insulin to utilize the glucose in the blood during pregnancy, causing hyperglycemia.Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes has thefollowing symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent bladder, vaginal and skin infections
  • Weight loss, despite increased appetite
How Does ItAffect Your Baby?
If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at an increased risk of:
1. Macrosomia (Excessive Birth Weight)
Excessive glucose in your bloodstream could force thebabys pancreas to createexcessive insulin, causingweight gain and increasing your chances of having a C-section birth.Bigger babies might get injured during a vaginal delivery and suffer fromShoulder dystocia (when the anterior shoulder of the baby gets stuck behind the mother's pubic bone during delivery).
2. Early Birth & Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Gestational diabetes can put you at risk of developing preeclampsia(a condition that occurs in late pregnancy, causing a sudden increase in blood pressure) and might result in an early delivery.Babies born beforetheir due date haveweak and underdeveloped lungs and might develop respiratory distress syndrome (a condition thatmakes breathing difficult).
3. Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)
Excessive insulin in the babys body may cause its blood sugar levels to fall (hypoglycemia). You might need to breastfeed right after delivery to get glucose into the babys system. If you cant breastfeed, the baby might receive glucose through a thin, plastic tube externally.
4. Jaundice
Gestational diabetes could make your baby susceptible to infections and diseases such as jaundice, makinghiseyes and skin turn yellow. However, jaundice is common in newborns and istreatable if handledon time.
5. Low Magnesium & Calcium Levels
Gestational diabetes also leads to low magnesium and calcium levels in the baby, which can cause muscle spasms or cramps.
6. Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
Babies of mothers who've had gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later on in life.

Managing Gestational Diabetes
Your doctor will prescribe medicines depending on your blood sugar levels. If the levelsare too high, thedoctor may suggest insulin shots. However, you can also keep them in control by:
1. Checking Your Blood Sugar LevelsRegularly:
An important aspect of managing gestational diabetes is to check your blood sugar levels at home every day using a glucometer.
2. Doing Moderate Exercise:
Low impact exercises such as walking or swimming are particularly helpfulfor pregnant women. Experts recommend two and a halfhours of moderate exercise every week to a healthy pregnantwoman.
3. Going For Regular Check-Ups:
Doctors monitor fetal growth and check for pregnancy complications that may arise due to gestational diabetes and might prescribe health supplements or medicines to manage them.
Ayurveda and yoga can bebeneficial in managing diabetes and its symptoms. Read on to know more about the natural ways to manage it.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page and read about other Womens Health stories here.


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