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Gestational Diabetes can occur in pregnancy when too much glucose stays in the blood instead of being used for energy. When gestational diabetes does occur, it is typically relieved following the birth of the baby.
TESTING FOR GESTATIONAL DIABETES
During your pregnancy, your care provider will check for gestational diabetes between 24 to 28 weeks. There are a few options when testing for gestational diabetes, including drinking a beverage that is a glucose solution to eating so many jelly beans instead! Shortly after, your blood is drawn to check the levels of glucose. If you pass this test you are good to go for the rest of your pregnancy, unless you develop symptoms that would warrant a recheck.
Typically, if the glucose levels in your blood are too high your provider will have you go back to do the three hour test. During the three hour test you will consume the glucose solution or treats and your blood will be drawn once an hour (starting one hour after) for three hours. If you pass this test than you are typically are good to go.
TREATING FOR GESTATIONAL DIABETES
If you didn't pass the three hour test you will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Depending on the glucose levels will determine the treatment. You may be given a kit to check your glucose levels at home or your provider may require you to come in more frequently to monitor you and the baby more closely. One of the best ways for managing gestational diabetes is with diet changes and exercise. In severe cases insulin may be needed.
RISKS OF GESTATIONAL DIABETES
Having gestational diabetes in pregnancy can increase your risk with various elements. First, gestational diabetes when untreated or unmanaged can lead to a larger size of baby. If size of baby is a concern, your provider may approach a discussion about induction. *Stay tuned for our blog about induction, but always do your research and think about the benefits and risks to all your options.
Gestational diabetes in pregnancy may cause the baby to have trouble regulating their blood sugar after birth. This will be monitored, and though breastfeeding is always best, your provider may recommend other options such as sugar water to help stabilize babies glucose. Another risk that can with gestational diabetes can increase the risk of the mother developing diabetes in life, as well as the risk of childhood obesity, and childhood diabetes.
Just like anything in pregnancy the more information you have the better equipped you are to handle the situation. Our goal in posting these blogs is to empower you with knowledge! Our Be Empowered Childbirth Class Series brings you information about all the benefits and risks to many pregnancy tests, birth options and interventions, as well as helping you find the best comfort measures for your birth. Sign up for childbirth classes below!