Gestational Diabetes Symptoms and Causes during Pregnancy

What are the causes and symptoms of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)? As well we know, it is a kind of diabetes (metabolic health condition) that occurs during pregnancy. It usually occurs about 24-28th of pregnancy (late in pregnancy), though there are also some women experience a spike in blood sugar earlier.

About 1 out of every 20 women (about 3-5 percent of pregnancies) has  GDM. The good news, many women with GDM can have healthy pregnancy and deliver healthy babies.

How do you get gestational diabetes?

Experts don’t yet know exactly about the answer for the cause of this health condition. But generally, experts believe that the transformation of your body from the first day of conception to prepare your pregnancy may contribute to the fluctuation of your blood sugar.

In early pregnancy, the production of pregnancy hormones triggered by placenta will increase drastically. This is purposed to prepare your body for the growth of your baby until delivery and even for breastfeeding.

But sometimes the elevated of pregnancy hormones may also affect the action of insulin, a hormone that is very crucial in regulating glucose /sugar in the bloodstream. This may lead to insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a condition when insulin doesn’t work effectively in helping to absorb the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body for energy. As a result, the blood sugar increases easily.

Why your body needs insulin?

One of the major goals from eating foods is for energy. Foods that you eat are changed into simple substance called glucose (the simple form of sugar). Glucose goes to the bloodstream, which then will be absorbed by the body’s cells.

The absorption of this glucose requires insulin. Without this hormone, cells of your body cannot absorb glucose or sugar in the bloodstream – as noted before. This can lead to the higher accumulation of glucose in blood, and you have high blood sugar level.

Insulin is produced by beta cells (cells of the pancreas). Normally, insulin released into the bloodstream is equivalent to the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. If the volume of glucose increases, so does insulin.

Risk factors of gestational diabetes

This health problem is more likely to occur in:

  1. Women who are being pregnant at the age of over 30.
  2. Pregnant women who have a family history of diabetes (both type-1 and type-2 diabetes).
  3. Women with overweight before pregnancy.
  4. Women with personal history of gestational diabetes. If in your first pregnancy you experience GDM, you are more likely to have the same problem in your next pregnancy.
  5. Women with polyhydramnios (a condition of having too high amniotic fluid).
  6. Women with a personal history of delivering overweight baby (higher than 9 pounds) or a stillborn baby – according WebMD.
  7. Women of a high-risk race group (such as Asian, Native American, American-Indian, Hispanic, and indigenous Australian).

Having one or some of these risk factors doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop GDM during pregnancy — but ‘Yes’, you are at higher risk to develop the condition!

Gestational diabetes symptoms during pregnancy

In many cases, GDM doesn’t cause early signs and symptoms. If the symptoms are present, they may include:

  1. Increased, frequent urination.
  2. Easier to get thirst.
  3. Blurred vision.
  4. Increased sense of hunger.

Some of these symptoms (such as frequently urination and more hungry feeling) can also be a part of normal pregnancies. That’s why – diagnosing GDM is not enough from the symptoms.

Your doctor needs to check the level of your blood sugar for further analysis in determining whether or not you have GDM.

Are there any early warning signs of gestational diabetes

Unfortunately, there is usually no specific early sign and symptom for GDM. The symptoms are likely to occur if the disease gets worse or if you have poor blood sugar control.

If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s much better to see a doctor or your GP to discuss any issues about your pregnancy so you can prepare yourself better. This is particularly recommended if you have a family history of diabetes. What’s more?

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