1 out of 50 women experience gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This usually occurs when you are 24 weeks pregnant. Gestational diabetes or pregnancy sugar you can recognize from a number of symptoms. If you notice this, it is advisable to inform your doctor immediately so that you can take action. It is not wise to walk around with gestational diabetes because it can have dangerous consequences for yourself and your baby. Read more about how you can recognize it and what you can do.
What does gestational diabetes involve?
If you have gestational diabetes, the sugar level in your blood is too high. This is because your body's cells are less sensitive to insulin due to your pregnancy (also known as insulin resistance). The result is that the sugar in your body is not properly absorbed by your body cells and therefore remains in your blood.
How does pregnancy sugar develop?
During your pregnancy your body undergoes many hormonal changes. Normally your body reacts to this by making more insulin to ensure that your body absorbs enough sugar. But if you have pregnancy sugar, your body can not produce enough insulin so that it is not properly absorbed by your body's cells. So you can not do anything about this!
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
If you notice the symptoms below, you may be suffering from gestational diabetes. Contact your doctor immediately:
- Much thirst;
- More frequent peeing;
- Your child is larger than average.
Consequences of gestational diabetes
Pregnancy sugar has consequences for yourself as a mother and for your child.
Consequences for the mother
Consequences that can be most damaging to the mother are dehydration (because you urinate more sugar and therefore fluid) and a reduced resistance to diseases. In addition, you have an increased risk of bladder infection and inflammation of your uterus.
Consequences for the baby
Because your blood contains more sugar, this automatically means that the blood of your baby also has an increased sugar content. The result is that your child grows faster and gets heavier. Your child also needs to pee more. This urine enters the amniotic fluid, which gives you more amniotic fluid in your uterus. Because your child has grown faster and your uterus contains more amniotic fluid, your uterus stretches further, which increases the chance of having an early delivery.
Other consequences for your baby:
- Your baby is larger than average;
- There is a delayed maturation of the lungs;
- Your baby may have trouble during pregnancy and / or childbirth;
- It can happen that your baby gets damaged during delivery.
Consequences for delivery
Your baby is a lot bigger than an average baby during delivery. Because of this there is a chance that the delivery will be difficult. This does not always have to be the case. In some women the delivery is less laborious because they have wider pelvis or have already given birth. However, as a precaution you will always have to give birth in the hospital if gestational diabetes has been diagnosed.
Treatment of gestational diabetes
If the doctor has found that you have pregnancy sugar, he or she will first send you to a dietitian. With a diet you will try to lower your sugar level in the blood. Usually this diet involves:
- Adjusted intake of kilocalories;
- Less sugar and saturated fat;
- Smaller meals distributed throughout the day;
- Daily at least 2 pieces of fruit and at least 250 grams of vegetables;
- Carbohydrate intake only from wholegrain products, legumes and potatoes;
- No alcohol and no cigarettes. If your sugar content remains above 7 millimoles per liter after a few weeks (while it should be below), then you will switch to a treatment with insulin spraying.
When do you have an increased chance of getting gestational diabetes?
Although in principle every pregnant woman can develop pregnancy sugar, there are a number of women who are at increased risk:
- If you have given birth to a baby that was heavier than 4 kilos;
- Someone in your family has had gestational diabetes;
- Someone in your family has diabetes type II;
- If you have previously had gestational diabetes;
- You are older than 35 years;
- If you are overweight before you became pregnant (with a BMI higher than 30);
- Your current cholesterol or blood sugar are too high.
If one of the above applies to you, always give this to your doctor or midwife. In 9 out of 10 cases you get gestational diabetes again if you have had this in a previous pregnancy.
How do you prevent pregnancy sugar?
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to prevent pregnancy sugar. But there is one thing that you have in hand and that is your current weight and health.
Do you currently have overweight or high cholesterol and do you want to become pregnant? Then it is good to lose some weight first before you try to conceive a child.
In addition, it is always beneficial for your health and that of your unborn baby that you eat healthy and varied. Start there before your pregnancy. A lot of sugar, alcohol and saturated fat is not good for your health anyway and you better avoid as much as possible.