Q What Is Gestational Diabetes
A. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It is different from having known diabetes before pregnancy and then getting pregnant.
Gestational diabetes is generally diagnosed in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, and usually goes away after the baby is born.
Gestational diabetes can cause problems for the mother and baby, but treatment and regular check-ups mean most women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
Q What Does Gestational Diabetes Mean
A. In women with gestational diabetes, natural hormones secreted by the placenta during pregnancy increase the bodys resistance to insulin. In other words, your bodys cells are not responding normally to insulin.
This means that your body needs much more insulin than usual to carry out its job of helping the bodys cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream after a meal. The result is that the glucose stays around in the bloodstream, hence the high glucose reading of your blood test.
Women who are found to have very high blood glucose levels may be given the diagnosis of diabetes in pregnancy. These women are likely to have had pre-existing, undiagnosed diabetes before they were pregnant, and are often diagnosed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy . Women with diabetes in pregnancy may need to have more tests, more intensive treatment during pregnancy, and closer follow-up after pregnancy.
Dietary Recommendations For Gestational Diabetes
Diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs in about 7 percent of all pregnancies. It usually arises in the second half of pregnancy and goes away as soon as the baby is born. However, if gestational diabetes is not treated, you may experience complications.
The first step in treating gestational diabetes is to modify your diet to help keep your blood sugar level in the normal range, while still eating a healthy diet. Most women with well-controlled blood sugar deliver healthy babies without any complications.
One way of keeping your blood sugar levels in normal range is by monitoring the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. Carbohydrate foods digest and turn into blood glucose . Glucose in the blood is necessary because it is the fuel for your body and nourishment your baby receives from you. However, it’s important that glucose levels stay within target.
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How To Get Rid Of Your Sharps
Never place sharps containers in the recycling or loose sharps in the trash. Choose one of the following options to get rid of your sharps.
- Throw melted sharps in the trash .
- Return clipped and stored sharps to:
- your county drop-off site
- a mail-back program. You will have to pay for this.
Allina Health hospitals and clinics in Minnesota do not accept sharps. Please do not bring them to your hospital or clinic.
You can make your own sharps disposal container from an empty laundry detergent bottle.
How To Manage Gestational Diabetes Without Medication
Expert Reviewed Gestational diabetes is a bit different from the other forms of diabetes you may have heard about. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy, a time where your body is going through a number of pretty radical changes. One of those changes is in the levels of blood sugar, also known as blood glucose levels. From 4% to 9.2 % of women have gestational diabetes during pregnancy. It does not necessarily mean that you or your baby have the more common form of diabetes and it does not mean that you or your baby will have diabetes after your baby is born. Most women are tested for gestational diabetes around the 28th week of gestation. Although you should talk to your doctor about your gestational diabetes during your normal visits, there are some ways you can manage it at home. For the most part, treatment of gestational diabetes is controlled through diet, increased physical activity, and sometimes, medication or insulin shots.Continue reading > >
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Tips On How To Treat Gestational Diabetes Naturally 7 Best Treatments:
In pregnancy, the babies grow and develop thanks to placenta which produces hormones. The action of mothers insulin is decreased by these hormones. So the demand for using insulin in pregnancy is 2 or 3 times higher than normal. If the mothers body cannot produce more insulin to response her needs, gestational diabetes increases. About three to eight percent of women pregnancy gets gestational diabetes. These women who:
- Are over 30 years old.
- Are overweight or obese .
- Have type 2 diabetes in her history family.
- Have previously had a greater than 4.5 kg baby.
- Take antipsychotic or steroid treatments.
- Have had diabetes in pregnancy before.
- Have sugar in their urine.
However, some pregnant women without any factors above also get risk of developing gestational diabetes. You need to begin treatment gestational diabetes immediately because it can hurt you and your baby and even lead to several complications. Here are some tips on how to treat gestational diabetes naturally at home that will help pregnant mothers deal with this disease:
What Is Normal Fasting Blood Sugar And What Is A Diabetes Blood Sugar Level
The results of the fasting blood sugar test will come back as a number:
- 99 mg/dL or lower: This is a normal fasting blood sugar level.
- 100125 mg/dL: Fasting blood sugar in this range typically indicates prediabetes. This means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
- 126 mg/dL or above: This indicates high blood sugar, the main sign of diabetes.
If you have a high fasting blood sugar level, your healthcare provider may repeat the test to make sure. If the test reveals that you have prediabetes, your healthcare provider will recommend you repeat the fasting blood sugar test every year or two. The results will help you know whether you are progressing to Type 2 diabetes.
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Eating Well With Gestational Diabetes
An important part of managing gestational diabetes relates to diet. Following a healthy eating plan will assist in:
- Managing blood glucose levels within the target range advised by your doctor
- Providing adequate nutrition for you and your growing baby
- Achieving appropriate weight changes during your pregnancy.
It is advisable to see an Accredited Practising Dietitian to work out a meal plan that is appropriate for mum and the growing baby.
Monitoring Your Blood Glucose
Youll know how well youre doing controlling your blood glucose level by monitoring it several times per day. This is done by checking your blood glucose. Your health care practitioner will explain how to use a blood glucose monitor, and you’ll receive detailed instructions on when and how often to check your blood sugar. Youll also be asked to keep track of your glucose daily levels to help both you and the doctor know how well you are managing.
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How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Any Future Pregnancies
If you have had gestational diabetes, you are more likely to have it again in future pregnancies. For that reason, a test for gestational diabetes will be performed early in any future pregnancy. If this test gives a negative result within the recommended range, then another pregnancy OGTT will be done again later in the pregnancy to make sure your blood glucose levels are still in the recommended range.
How Is Gestational Diabetes Treated
Many women are able to manage gestational diabetes through diet and exercise, which can be very effective at controlling blood sugar levels.
Youll need to pay special attention to your carbohydrate intake and your portion sizes. Its also important for you to avoid eating and drinking certain items, including alcohol, processed foods, and starches such as white potatoes and white rice. Check out this food list for more tips on what you can and cant eat if you have gestational diabetes.
Your doctor will recommend a meal plan and exercise schedule. Exercises that are safe to perform during pregnancy include:
Youll also need to monitor your blood sugar levels to make sure your glucose isnt too high.
If diet and exercise alone arent effective, you may need to take insulin as well.
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Can Gestational Diabetes Affect My Baby
If gestational diabetes is not well looked after it may result in problems such as a large baby, miscarriage and stillbirth. A large baby can create the risk of injury at delivery, caesarean delivery, forceps delivery and a need for the baby to be looked after in special care until the glucose level stabilises after delivery. Other complications may include pregnancy loss and premature delivery. If any problems occur, the hospital will care for you and your baby.
Other Aspects Of Your Care
- As you get closer to your due date, you may have a harder time staying in your target blood sugar range. You may need to take insulin or diabetes medicine.
- If you were overweight before you became pregnant, do not try to lose weight while you are pregnant. Ask your doctor how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.
- Your doctor may have you check kick counts and let him or her know if you think your baby has been moving less than usual.
- If you take insulin, it can cause your blood sugar to drop below the target range. Even though very low blood sugar is rare in women who have gestational diabetes, it is important to know the symptoms of low blood sugar and have glucose or sucrose tablets or solution or quick-sugar foods with you at all times.
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What Will Happen After The Baby Is Born
You can stop sugar monitoring and/or insulin after the baby is born.Your family doctor will do another GCT about three months after the baby is bornto make sure that your sugar is normal again. Remember, even if the GCT after the baby is born is normal, you are still at a 10-50% higher risk in the future of diabetes. You can reduce this risk by exercising, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Monitoring Your Blood Glucose Levels
Your medical team will give you a target range for your blood glucose levels. You will need to check these at home while you are pregnant.
You can purchase a blood glucose measuring kit from your local pharmacy or diabetes centre, or from Diabetes Australia in your state or territory call 1800 637 700 for help.
To test your blood glucose levels, you prick your finger with a lancet and put a small drop of blood onto a testing strip. Then you insert the strip into a meter, which reads your blood glucose level.
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Make Changes That Count
The term reversal is used when people can go off medication but still must engage in a lifestyle program in order to stay off, says Ann Albright, PhD, RD. Shes the director of diabetes translation at the CDC.
Shedding extra pounds and keeping them off can help you better control your blood sugar.
For some people, reaching a healthier weight will mean taking fewer medications, or in rarer cases, no longer needing those medications at all.
If you sit most of the day, 5 or 10 minutes is going to be great, Albright says. Walk to your mailbox. Do something that gets you moving, knowing that youre looking to move towards 30 minutes most days of the week.
What Happens After My Baby Is Born
If you have been injecting insulin to help manage gestational diabetes this usually stops once your baby is born. This is because womens blood glucose levels usually return to the optimal range quite quickly after their babys birth.
Following the birth of your baby, it is important that your babys blood glucose levels are measured to check that their blood glucose is not too low. If it is, this can be treated by feeding your baby breast milk or formula. Breastfeeding is encouraged as this is best for you and your baby.
Your blood glucose levels will be measured for a few days after your baby is born to make sure that they are within the recommended range. Glucose checking times are usually before breakfast and 2 hours after meals. An oral glucose tolerance test is done 6 to 12 weeks after the baby is born to check that your diabetes has gone away.
During COVID-19, recommendations are to delay the OGTT testing for 6 months, if you are not able to social distance at the pathology centre or living in a high-risk area. It is recommended to have an OGTT before your baby is 12 months old or if planning another pregnancy. Be guided by your doctor.
A baby whose mother had gestational diabetes will not be born with diabetes, but they may be at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
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Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels While Pregnant
It is important to monitor your blood glucose levels at home to check that management of gestational diabetes is keeping your blood glucose levels within the target range. Your Credentialled Diabetes Educator can show you how to check your blood glucose levels and help you understand your blood glucose patterns. This is to ensure appropriate treatment can be administered and changed as necessary.
Your doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator will advise you on recommended blood glucose target levels and testing times.
If your blood glucose levels cannot be managed by healthy eating and physical activity alone, your doctor may suggest medication. Most diabetes tablets are not suitable for use during pregnancy, but insulin injections and/or a medication called metformin may be required to help manage your gestational diabetes.
Learn more about Blood Glucose Monitoring.
What Is A Normal Blood Glucose Level
According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal blood glucose level on a gestational diabetes test is lower than 140 mg/dL .
If you have a blood glucose level between 140 and 199 mg/dL , its considered impaired glucose tolerance, or prediabetes.
A blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher may mean you have gestational diabetes.
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Is My Medication Suitable During Pregnancy
Even though the patient information leaflets for metformin and glibenclamide say that these medications shouldnt be used during pregnancy, both are used in the UK to help manage diabetes in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Theres strong evidence for their effectiveness and safety. Your diabetes care team will consider the benefits to your blood sugar against any potential harm. Talk to your care team if you have any worries.
Can Gestational Diabetes Be Prevented
Gestational diabetes often cant be prevented. But you can reduce your risk by being a healthy weight. If you are overweight before you fall pregnant, it is a good idea to try to lose some weight first.
If you are already pregnant and you are overweight, dont try to lose weight now. But its important to keep your weight gain within a healthy range. Your doctor can help you with this. Avoiding too much weight gain in the first two trimesters is a great way of preventing gestational diabetes.
If you have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, youre at higher risk of developing it again. Your doctor may do an oral glucose tolerance test at around 12 to 16 weeks to check your blood glucose levels, and then again at around 26 weeks.
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Whats The Connection Between Gestational Diabetes And Insulin
Insufficient insulin or ineffective use of insulin by your bodys cells leads to high glucose levels in the blood. As you gain weight, your body uses insulin less effectively, so it needs to produce more in order to regulate the sugar in your blood. Learn more about the effects of insulin.
In addition, when youre pregnant your placenta produces insulin-blocking hormones. This makes sugar stay in your blood longer after a meal. Your baby gets nutrients from your blood, so its beneficial during pregnancy for nutrients to be in your blood longer so your baby can access them. A certain level of insulin resistance is normal during pregnancy.
Your glucose levels could get too high during pregnancy if:
- you were already insulin-resistant before becoming pregnant
- your blood glucose levels were already high before becoming pregnant
- you have conditions that put you at greater risk for becoming insulin resistant
If your glucose levels become too high, youll be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
How Is It Treated
Some women with gestational diabetes can control their blood sugar level by changing the way they eat and by exercising regularly. These healthy choices can also help prevent gestational diabetes in future pregnancies and type 2 diabetes later in life.
Treatment for gestational diabetes also includes checking your blood sugar level at home and seeing your doctor regularly.
You may need to give yourself insulin shots to help control your blood sugar. This insulin adds to the insulin that your body makes. Diabetes medicines may be used to control gestational diabetes in some women.
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