A lot of women feel overwhelmed or scared when their doctor starts talking about gestational diabetes. Many women do not realize that it is a normal part of pregnancy for every woman to get tested for gestational diabetes. This is because, although there are risk factors, any woman has the potential to have gestational diabetes. In fact, sometimes a woman with multiple risk factors may not get gestational diabetes, but a woman with no known risk factors will.
Here are some common questions about gestational diabetes to help you understand it a little better:
What causes gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is thought to be caused by hormones that mess with the production and absorption of insulin. There are risk factors that can increase the likelihood of having gestational diabetes.
What are some risk factors of gestational diabetes?
Most risk factors include the age, race, and weight of the mother. Also included is whether there is a personal or family history of diabetes and previous gestational diabetes pregnancies.
How do they test for gestational diabetes?
The test for gestational diabetes is referred to as a glucose tolerance test. You are asked to fast and then given a glucose beverage to drink. One hour after you finish the drink, your blood will be tested. If you fail this one hour test, there is a three hour test where a stronger drink is administered and your blood is tested every hour for three hours. This is the final test. Many women who fail the first test pass the second.
Will testing my blood sugar hurt?
If you are asked to monitor your blood sugar at home, you may need to prick your finger or arm for a sample of blood on occasion. Depending on your doctor’s orders, you may need to do this at least once a day if not more. At first pricking yourself may seem scary, but it is almost painless and you really will get used to it.
How will gestational diabetes affect my baby?
If treated and maintained properly, your baby may never be affected at all. The biggest risks are high birth weight and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. Most women deliver perfectly healthy babies, however.
Will gestational diabetes go away after delivery?
Yes. Within a days after delivery, you should have no issues with diabetes.
How will gestational diabetes affect my future?
There is a risk of getting type 2 diabetes in the future, as well as a higher occurrence rate of gestational diabetes in future pregnancies. Some of this can be prevented by continuing healthy diet and lifestyle practices after delivery.
Can gestational diabetes be prevented?
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, but there is no definitive way to absolutely prevent it. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is the best way to help prevent gestational diabetes and other complications.
Did I do something to cause gestational diabetes?
Absolutely not. Even if you have every risk factor for gestational diabetes, it is important to understand that it is not your fault. Gestational diabetes is still pretty rare and is often just the luck of the draw.
How is gestational diabetes treated?
Gestational diabetes is mostly treated through healthy diet and exercise. In some cases, medication may be necessary.
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