You’re pregnant—and tired all the time. You’re going to the bathroom almost constantly and you just can’t drink enough water. Many women feel extreme fatigue or the frequent urge to urinate when pregnant. While these may be common complaints, these symptoms could be caused by a serious and underlying disorder that can harm both you and your baby.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Usually temporary, gestational diabetes occurs when your body stops producing insulin or doesn’t respond to insulin. The American Pregnancy Association says approximately 2 to 5 percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. That number jumps to 7 to 9 percent in mothers who may have risk factors.
Although gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy, it can cause serious health risks like:
— Premature birth
— A higher risk of developing preeclampsia
— higher birth weight of the baby
— low blood sugar levels in the baby at birth
— A risk for higher blood pressure
While 2 to 5 percent doesn’t sound high, scheduling prenatal care as soon as you discover you are pregnant is vital for your health and the health of your baby. At Walnut Hill, we offer all antenatal care including ultrasound available in all trimesters. For your peace of mind, we also offer non-invasive pregnancy testing for genetic errors (NIPT).
How do you know if you have gestational diabetes? Read on to learn more.
Signs of Gestational Diabetes
Some women have no obvious signs or symptoms of gestational diabetes, and many of the most commons signs are similar to what women feel while pregnant. Some of the most common symptoms of gestational diabetes include:
— Frequent urination
— Frequent bladder, vaginal or skin infections
— Blurred vision
— Extreme thirst
— Sugar in the urine
If you are experiencing these symptoms or notice any new or unusual symptoms during pregnancy, talk to your doctor about the possibility of gestational diabetes. Regular pregnancy care services and check-ups at Walnut Hill OBGYN Associates can help you keep on top of your health concerns while pregnant.
One common myth is that pregnant women can eat whatever they want. Unfortunately, overeating or eating unhealthily during pregnancy can result in medical problems like gestational diabetes. For tips on how to gain – and lose – pregnancy weight in a healthy manner, click here.
Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes
The good news is that many women who have gestational diabetes catch it through their pregnancy care services and routine pregnancy check-ups. When your doctor or nurse asks how you are feeling, report any symptoms of fatigue, frequent urination or extreme thirst. You’ll probably also have a urine sample taken.
If your urine shows a high amount of sugar, you should be screened for gestational diabetes. By scheduling your regular prenatal care appointments at Walnut Hill OBGYN, you’ll likely receive a screening test for gestational diabetes any way between 24 and 28 weeks into your pregnancy. If you have a higher risk, you’ll have follow-up screenings as well.
The screenings may include an initial glucose challenge test. Your doctor or OB/GYN may have you drink something that contains glucose so they can test your blood sugar levels. If you show higher-than-normal results, you’ll be referred for a follow-up glucose tolerance test. This test requires you to fast overnight, then drink a glucose mix. After you consume the glucose, your doctor will check your blood sugar three times in the next three hours.
Serious complications are fairly rare in pregnancy, but Walnut Hill OBGYN Associates are equipped to handle even the rarest complications or special needs. We are consultants with North Texas Perinatal Associates.
We also help women with a history of health problems to deliver healthy full-term babies. Need more information or help with the big event? Contact our office for a list of prenatal classes that can help you get on the road to a healthy delivery.
What Happens If I Am Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes?
Like many other forms of diabetes, the best treatment is to control blood sugar levels through diet and possible insulin therapy. Your doctor will monitor your blood levels throughout your pregnancy, and you may also have to self-monitor your own blood glucose levels. Diet and exercise management helps with the condition, but insulin therapy may be required.
When diagnosed early and treated, the risk of complications goes down dramatically. Women who are diagnosed and treated effectively go on to deliver healthy babies. Maintaining your health during pregnancy is the best way to ensure you have a healthy birth. Regular prenatal care and pregnancy care services also increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy.
For more information on how to ensure a healthy pregnancy, find out how Walnut Hill OBGYN Associates can help you with your pregnancy and prenatal care.