Gestational diabetes symptoms include all the classical signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
But before explaining the symptoms in depth, knowing the condition is of primary importance. Gestational diabetes is a temporary medical condition that appears during the pregnancy period of some women. The symptoms manifested are the same as the symptoms of the other types of diabetes mellitus. However, gestational diabetes symptoms are usually not experienced by the pregnant mother. The condition is usually diagnosed through prenatal screening examinations.
What are the Gestational Diabetes Symptoms?
Clinical manifestations of this temporary condition have been always the same as the other type of diabetes. The pregnant women may experience extreme hunger, excessive thirst and frequent urination. Because of high blood sugar levels in the body, the flow of blood in the kidney increases resulting to an increase in the urine production of the body. To compensate for this, the brain signals the body to take in a lot of water resulting to the individual becoming extremely thirsty. Moreover, because of lack of insulin in the body needed for breaking down sugars into glucose, energy source of the body becomes deficient. This signals the body to eat a lot. In addition, lethargy may also be experienced when the source of the body energy is low.
Other gestational diabetes symptoms include: unusual decrease in weight and blurry vision. The mother loses weight despite eating a lot of foods because of extreme hunger. This is mainly attributed to the fact that the carbohydrates cannot be broken down. To compensate, the body uses its stored fats and protein as the body’s energy source. On the other hand, blurry vision may also be experienced by the mother because of the slight swelling of the eyes’ lens. The mother may also become moody and irritated.
These symptoms mentioned above are commonly not manifested in women who have gestational diabetes. This is the reason why it is extremely important for the mothers to be screened around 6 months to 7 months of their pregnancy. These tests are mandatory for all pregnant women especially to those who are at high risk in developing the gestational diabetes.
Who are at high risk in developing gestational diabetes?
A pregnant woman can be classified as a person at high risk for acquiring gestational diabetes if her age is 25 years old or older, obese, and her family had a previous history of this disease. The women may be considered as obese if her body mass index is more than 29. A woman is also has a great chance of acquiring this disease if she had experienced this condition on her previous pregnancy. Also, having a baby that weighs more than nine pounds is also one of the risk factors. Lastly, gestational diabetes has predilection to certain races: Asians, Native Americans, Latinas, and African Americans.
If the person is identified to be at high risk for acquiring gestational diabetes, screening exams should be done at her first prenatal appointment. For these people, it is recommended that screening exams should be done a few times in the pregnancy period.
What is the Available Screening Test for Gestational Diabetes?
The first screening test available is called the glucose tolerance exam. During this exam, the mother is asked to take in a specific amount of carbohydrates orally. Her sugar level will then be examined after exactly 1 hour. Further examinations are needed when her blood glucose level is > to 130 milligrams per decilitre.
If the previously mentioned test becomes positive, the mother will undergo another glucose tolerance exam that lasts for about three days. During this period, the mother is asked to take a minimum of 0.15 kilograms of carbohydrates per day. Twelve hours before the examination, the patient is asked not to eat anything. On the next day, her blood is extracted and the blood sugar level is then measured. Then, three measurements of sugar level will again be done at an interval of one hour. Definitive diagnosis of gestational diabetes is made when the sugar levels are still high.
What are the Problems Related to Gestational Diabetes?
Experiencing gestational diabetes symptoms is a temporary condition. However, this should be prevented because it may pose dangers not only to the mother, but also to the baby. For the mothers, this condition greatly increases the probability of getting type 2 diabetes mellitus. The baby in the womb will also increase in size, making the trimester period of the pregnancy stressful and extremely difficult.
Aside from these, having a big baby increases the chances of undergoing a caesarean surgery than normal delivery of the baby. In addition, babies that are large are more prone in experiencing birth trauma. Right after the birth of the baby, he may experience low blood sugar. If this is not treated immediately, long-term diseases may even develop.
What are the Different Ways to Prevent Gestational Diabetes?
Because of the problems associated with gestational diabetes, prevention is the best way in avoiding future problems. The mother can start by eating the right, healthy foods and maintaining her fit body. She should engage in moderate physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes per day. This will also gradually sustain her healthy weight.
If the mother has already developed the condition, she should always visit her healthcare provider as advised by them. In addition, living healthy is the best option. Lastly, always make sure that the recommendations given by the doctor should always be followed.
Gestational diabetes symptoms are not commonly exhibited in pregnant women who have gestational diabetes. This makes screening exams vital in preventing and diagnosing the disease. It is always best to not miss any prenatal appointments and follow the medical practitioner’s recommendation. Most importantly, living a healthy lifestyle will prevent this disease.