What Are the Signs of Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects some women during pregnancy. It is much like regular diabetes in that it impacts how cells process sugar (glucose), but it occurs in expectant mothers who did not have diabetes prior to their pregnancy. Gestational diabetes typically develops in the middle of pregnancy and usually goes away shortly after childbirth.
Gestational diabetes often does not cause obvious symptoms. When it does, symptoms may include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Vaginal or bladder infections
Of course, many of these symptoms are vague or can be a direct symptom of pregnancy itself. The best way to ensure you and your baby are healthy is to carefully follow your doctor’s guidance, promptly report unusual symptoms, and adhere to your prenatal care schedule. Your doctor will likely screen you for gestational diabetes between your 24th and 28th week of pregnancy, as your body will produce large amounts of hormones that could potentially cause insulin resistance during this time period.
Am I at risk for gestational diabetes?
The good news is that the large majority of pregnant women do not develop gestational diabetes. According to the American Pregnancy Association, about 2 to 5 percent of expectant mothers will experience this condition. However, your chances of gestational diabetes may increase if you have one or more risk factors, which include:
- Being older than 25
- Having prediabetes or a family history of type 2 diabetes
- Being overweight, particularly if your BMI (body mass index) is over 30
- Being of African, Asian, Hispanic, or American Indian descent
How is gestational diabetes treated?
Although gestational diabetes usually goes away shortly after a woman gives birth, that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. If left unmanaged, this condition can potentially cause harm to both mom and baby. Possible complications of untreated gestational diabetes include hypoglycemia, type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, pre-term birth, respiratory distress syndrome, and an increased likelihood of a C-section birth.
Thankfully, with a doctor’s guidance, there are several steps a woman can take to effectively manage gestational diabetes, including:
- Carefully monitoring blood sugar
- Engaging in regular low-impact exercise
- Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Taking medication to help control blood sugar
Our multidisciplinary approach to gestational diabetes
Tufts Medical Center Community Care is a multispecialty medical group that includes highly experienced obstetricians, gynecologists, primary care physicians, endocrinologists, and other specialists who work hand-in-hand to provide comprehensive and expertly coordinated care to women with gestational diabetes. We also collaborate with maternal-fetal medicine specialists and neonatologists from Tufts Medical Center to meet the needs of women with high-risk pregnancies and newborns who require advanced care.
Contact Tufts Medical Center Community Care today to schedule an appointment with a physician on our team. One of our professionals will be happy to answer any questions you may have and direct you to the best specialist for your needs. Our practice has better-than-average appointment availability and multiple locations throughout north suburban Boston, so you won’t have to wait weeks or trek into the city to receive the advanced care you need and deserve.