Diabetes in Pregnancy Assignment Help
Diabetes in pregnancy is also known as gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can be described as a health condition in which blood sugar levels go up in pregnant women. Gestational diabetes can affect any woman and not necessarily those who have had diabetes before.
There are two types/classes of gestational diabetes. These are class A1 and class A2. Class A1 gestational diabetes can be managed through exercising and a proper diet. Class A2 on the other hand is managed by medications and the use of insulin.
It is common for gestational diabetes to go away after birth. However, it can still affect the health of the unborn baby and can increase the risk of the mother developing type 2 diabetes much later in life. The good news is that there are a few steps that can help both mother and unborn baby stay healthy.
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Symptoms of Diabetes in Pregnancy
Most pregnant women will not know if they have gestational diabetes. Most of them come to find out during the usual routine check-up. Mothers with gestational diabetes will notice that they pee more times than usual, that they are hungrier and eat more than usual, and that they are thirstier than usual.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is only diagnosed when a woman is pregnant. Just like any other type of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how body cells utilize sugar also known as glucose.
Diabetes in pregnancy causes an increase in blood sugar levels which can affect pregnancy and the health of the baby. Pregnant women are usually worried about complications and this is normal.
Gestational diabetes can be controlled and should not worry pregnant mothers. One way of controlling gestational diabetes is by exercising, eating healthy foods, and taking medication if necessary. It is crucial to control blood sugar levels during pregnancy to keep both the mother and baby healthy and to prevent difficulty during birth. Gestational diabetes ends as soon as mothers give birth.
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Causes of Diabetes in Pregnancy
Ordinarily, when we eat, the pancreas releases insulin which helps in moving glucose from the blood to cells so that it can be used to give energy. In pregnant women, the placenta produces hormones that may cause the glucose to buildup in the blood.
The pancreas produces enough insulin to process this glucose but in cases where the body does not make enough insulin or stops to make it altogether, blood sugar levels will rise causing gestational diabetes.
It is not clear why some women suffer from gestational diabetes while others do not. It is believed that being overweight before pregnancy could contribute to gestational diabetes. During pregnancy, there is a change in hormone levels that keep blood sugar levels at a
normal range. A decrease in these hormones makes it hard for the body to efficiently process blood sugar causing sugar levels to rise.
Risk Factors for Diabetes in Pregnancy
It has been discovered that some women are at more risk of developing gestational diabetes. Some of the risk factors for diabetes in pregnancy include:
- lack of physical activity
- being obese or overweight
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- previously delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- previous gestational diabetes or prediabetes
- diabetes in an immediate family member
- Race – Hispanic, Asian American, black, and American Indian women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
Complications of Gestational Diabetes
If gestational diabetes is not managed carefully it may lead to high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can be a problem for both the unborn baby and the mother and can cause problems for both. For instance, it may increase the likelihood of C-section during delivery.
Complications that may affect the baby
Babies whose mothers have gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of:
- Excessive birth weight – increased blood sugar levels in mothers may cause the baby to be too big. Big babies are likely to be wedged in the birth canal, suffer injuries during birth, or need a C-section birth.
- Serious breathing difficulties – mothers with gestational diabetes may need to give birth early.
- Obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life – babies born by mothers who have had gestational diabetes are at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and becoming obese later in life.
- Early (preterm) birth – gestational diabetes increases the risk of preterm labor and birth before the expected due date.
- Stillbirth – if gestational diabetes is left untreated or is not managed carefully it can lead to the death of the baby before birth or shortly after birth.
- Low blood sugar – babies born by mothers who have had gestational diabetes may have hypoglycemia which is low blood sugar levels immediately after they are born. I
Complications that may affect the mother
Gestational diabetes put the mother at an increased risk of:
- having a surgical delivery ( C-section) – mothers who have gestational diabetes are more likely to have a C-section.
- Future diabetes – mothers who have gestational diabetes are likely to have it in their future pregnancies. They are also at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
- high blood pressure and preeclampsia – diabetes in pregnancy increase the risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that causes high blood pressure and symptoms that threaten the lives of the mother and baby.
Gestational Diabetes Testing and Diagnosis
Diabetes in pregnancy usually occurs during the second trimester. Mothers who are at risk of gestational diabetes will be checked by the doctor between the 24th and 28th week or earlier. During a checkup, the doctor will give the mother a glucose tolerance test.
The mother will be required to drink 50 grams of glucose in a sweet drink to raise their blood sugar. After 1 hour, a blood glucose test is done to observe how the body handles the sugar in the drink.
If the results indicate that the blood sugar level is higher than a given level, the mother will need a 3-hour glucose test that is done orally. This means that the mother will get a blood glucose test every 3 hours after drinking a 100gram glucose drink.
Additionally, the doctor can test the mother by having them fast for 12 hours then give them a 75-gram glucose drink and test their blood glucose after 2hours. If the results are normal for mothers who are at high risk, the doctor will test them again later in the pregnancy to be sure they do not have gestational diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes Treatment
Women with gestational diabetes need to get treatment as soon as possible for their safety and that of their unborn child. This also helps both the mother and baby to remain healthy during pregnancy and delivery.
The doctor will ask the mother to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, check their sugar levels four or more times a day, and check for ketones in the urine. In addition, the doctor will keep track of the baby’s development and the weight of the mother. Insulin and other medications may also be given to control blood sugar levels.
Prevention of Diabetes in Pregnancy
There is no guaranteed way of preventing gestational diabetes. However, it is advisable to adopt healthy habits before getting pregnant. Healthy choices and habits may help mothers who have had gestational diabetes avoid developing it in their future pregnancies.
These healthy habits include:
- being physically active – it is important to exercise regularly before and during pregnancy to protect oneself from developing gestational diabetes. 30 minutes of moderate activity is recommended. This can be done on most days of the week. For instance, a person could ride a bike, swim, or walk.
- eating healthy foods – it is important to choose foods rich in fiber and low in calories and fat. A person should increase their intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Having a variety in your diet helps to achieve your health goals without compromising on taste or nutrition. It is also important to watch portion sizes.
- Maintaining a healthy weight – do not gain more weight than is recommended. It is normal and healthy to gain some weight during pregnancy. However, a person should not go beyond the recommended weight. In addition, putting on too much weight too soon may increase the risk of gestational diabetes.
- Starting pregnancy at a healthy weight – for women planning to get pregnant, it is important to lose extra weight before getting pregnant. It is important to make lasting changes to their eating habits to help them remain healthy throughout the pregnancy.
Diabetes in pregnancy is also known as gestational diabetes. If left untreated, it can have serious effects on the health of both the mother and the baby. It is treatable and can be easily managed.