Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes which affects pregnant women. It is believed that the hormones produced during pregnancy reduce a woman's receptivity to insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women. It is estimated that about 135,000 cases of gestational diabetes arise in the United States each year.
Hormones involved in development of placenta, which helps the baby to develop also blocks, the action of the mother's insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance. During pregnancy a mother may need up to three times more insulin for glucose to leave the blood and transform to energy. When body is not able to use insulin due to insulin resistance it develops into Gestational Diabetes. Glucose builds up in the blood to high level, it is called hyperglycemia.
Gestational diabetes affects the mother in late pregnancy and the baby too. Insulin does not cross the placenta, as glucose and other nutrients do. Extra blood glucose passes through the placenta that gives the baby a high blood glucose level. It results the baby's pancreas to make extra insulin to get rid of the blood glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to develop and grow, the extra energy is stored as fat. It can lead to Macrosomia i.e. “Fat” baby. At birth this fat baby develops problem in breathing or may develop hypoglycemia due to over production of insulin.
Why there is a need to take care of gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes can harm you and your baby, so you need to consider about it seriously and start caring at once. The main aim of gestational diabetes treatment is to keep blood glucose levels equal to those of normal pregnant women. It needs a planned meal and scheduled physical activity, even blood glucose testing and insulin injections if required. If gestational diabetes is taken care off properly, reduces the risk of a cesarean section birth that high weight babies may require.