Gestational diabetes develops when the expectant mother's pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to cover the baby's needs during pregnancy. Untreated gestational diabetes can cause the baby to be too large and need to be born by Cesarean section. The newborn baby of a mom with gestational diabetes may also be born with breathing problems or low blood sugar.
Gestational diabetes can be difficult to detect because there are usually no symptoms. Many women have gestational diabetes without even knowing it. For this reason, urine is checked for signs of diabetes at each prenatal visit. Around the 28th week of pregnancy, a blood sample is checked for sugar. Your physician will tell you when you need the blood sugar test.
If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the Diabetes Educator at YRMC can help. Weekly individual and group classes can provide you with the education and tools you need to manage your blood sugar during the rest of your pregnancy. The education and services include:
- How and when to monitor blood sugar
- What foods and how much to eat to maintain your health and the health of your developing baby
- How to administer insulin (if necessary)
- Exercise counseling
A woman who has developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy is at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. She should be screened for high blood sugar levels at least once a year after she has her baby. Early diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, and keeping blood sugar within normal levels from the beginning, will help the patient live longer without serious complications.
For more information contact the Diabetes Education Center at 928-336-7186.