GESTATIONAL DIABETES (gestational diabetes mellitus)
Occurs only during pregnancy and is temporary. In this condition, the mother has elevated levels of blood sugar. The pregnancy is considered as high risk and as such should be monitored by experienced obstetrician and experienced endocrinologist. Appropriate monitoring and appropriate therapy lead to the birth of a healthy child and the condition is in remission with the mother (very rarely it can develop into type 2 diabetes).
If this condition remains undetected and untreated, it could harm you and your baby!
What are the causes?
During the pregnancy theplacentasecretes hormones that can elevate the values of the glycaemia (blood sugar). Usually, the Pancreas secretes enough insulin and maintains normal values of glycaemia. Otherwise, these values will rise above the normal level and will cause gestational diabetes, which is the basis for this metabolic disorder.
What are the risk factors for the occurrence of gestational diabetes?
Increased body weight before the pregnancy, increased blood sugar levels (not high enough to indicate diabetes), diabetes in the family, high blood pressure, previous birth of a child with increased body weight (over 4 kg.), previous pregnancy that terminated in intrauterine death of the fetus or previous birth of a child with certain anomalies, increased amniotic fluid during ultrasound, increased size of the current fetus, previous miscarriages or unsuccessful pregnancies, presence of glucose in the urine, frequent fungal infections, patients with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
What are the symptoms?
Increased thirst, increased appetite, frequent urination, glucose in the urine, dizziness, nausea, frequent fungal infection and urinary infection, blurred vision.
Patients with gestational diabetes can have no visible symptoms. For that reason, timely screening of every patient is of great importance!
When is the screening performed?
Gestational diabetes usually occurs during the second half of the pregnancy. According to protocol, the screening is performed between 24 and 28 weeks, or sooner if the risk factors are present. The same should be performed on every pregnant woman. The early detection and appropriate treatment are extremely important.
How is the screening performed?
If the glycaemia of the pregnant woman is equal or greater than 7 nmol/L in both occasions, the diagnosis for the gestational diabetes is confirmed. Additional tests are unnecessary.
The screening is performed with loading of a certain level of sugar through the mouth and subsequent measurement of the glycaemia of the mother after a certain period of time. Depending of the results the diagnosis is confirmed or rejected. The test is always performed in the morning after a starvation period of minimum of 8-10 hours. Normal (not excessive) physical activity is recommended for the previous day.
The careful monitoring of the mother and the baby continues until the delivery, even with negative results. This is especially recommended for mothers with one or more risk factors!
Is the screening dangerous for you or your baby?
Although the swabbing for the fluid with glycaemia, as well as the length of the test, can be unpleasant, please be patient. Gestational diabetes is a condition that must be diagnosed on time and treated appropriately.
If the gestational diabetes is diagnosed on time – with regular checkups, appropriate diet, physical activity and appropriate therapy, the pregnancy can end with a healthy mother and a healthy baby.