5 Questions (and Answers) about Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy is an exciting and overwhelming time in a woman’s life. Learning that you have or may have gestational diabetes can really throw a wrench in an otherwise joyful experience. While developing gestational diabetes is certainly not ideal, it is not as scary as it seems. With timely testing and diligent health choices, gestational diabetes can be easily diagnosed and managed. Here are a few answers to common questions many women have about gestational diabetes:
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes (or GDM) occurs when a woman who has never had diabetes before pregnancy develops elevated levels of blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy. It is thought that gestational diabetes affects up to 18% of pregnant women.
Doctor’s don’t really know what causes GDM, but they have some theories. One of the most prevalent is that hormones from the placenta block the action of the mother’s insulin in her body. This is called insulin resistance and it makes it hard for the mother’s body to properly use insulin. Without enough insulin, glucose is unable to leave the bloodstream and be utilized for energy. Blood glucose can then build up to dangerous levels, which is called hyperglycemia.
You will typically be tested for gestational diabetes between your 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. Testing is done by drawing blood after a screening glucose challenge test or an oral glucose tolerance test. For the screening test, you will drink a sugary beverage an hour before having your blood glucose checked. The glucose tolerance test involves having your blood gluc Continue reading