Gestational diabetes mellitus is a fairly common complication that develops during pregnancy. This condition is seen only in about 5 to 10 percent of all pregnancies. Similar to Type 2 diabetes, pregnancy-related diabetes happens when the insulin receptors in the cells become unresponsive resulting to abnormal elevations in blood sugar levels.
Women who are overweight, suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome, have hypertension, have existing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes or a family history of the disease, have experienced gestational diabetes in previous pregnancies and are over 35 years old have higher probability of developing the disorder. However, about half of the women who are affected by this form of diabetes do not necessarily have the risk factors associated with the disease to begin with. The disruption in glucose metabolism could likely be initiated by biological changes that occur during gestation period.
Diabetes mellitus in pregnancy exhibit little to no symptoms at all but can be diagnosed through routine prenatal screenings and regular blood sugar checks. When left untreated it could lead to delivery complications such as developing babies with bigger sizes, jaundice, and pre-eclampsia that may necessitate Caesarian delivery. However, the risk for birth defects is rare because it usually occur in the last trimester of pregnancy when the baby is already fully developed.
Generally, gestational diabetes is preventable and can be easily treated. In many cases, the disorder resolves by itself after pregnancy. Nevertheless, appropriate lifestyle changes can be of great benefit such as getting proper nutrition, exercise, smoking cessation and the use of glucose-control medications. Dietary modifications such as limited carbohydrate intake or eating low glycemic foods, engaging in moderate physical activities and if required by your health care provider, taking anti-diabetic drugs can be very effective in regulating rapid elevations in blood sugar together.