Occasionally during pregnancy, women who previously exhibited no signs of diabetes mellitus will have high blood glucose levels. This results in a condition known as “Gestational Diabetes.” The risks associated with gestational diabetes are sufficient enough that anyone who is pregnant should be familiar with them.
In A Nutshell
- Gestational diabetes has been found in 3-10% of pregnant women. The wide range is due to variations in the tested populations.
- Gestational diabetes has very few symptoms. It isn’t like there are signs that trouble’s afoot – it is usually caught during a screening at a prenatal checkup. The testing is done through a blood sample.
- Though there aren’t many symptoms, there are risk factors that make a woman more likely to be predisposed toward developing gestational diabetes. These are risks worth taking a look at.
- If a woman has had gestational diabetes before, she is more likely to develop it with a later pregnancy.
- If there are close relatives who have type 2 diabetes, the pregnant woman is more likely to develop gestational diabetes. This risk factor isn’t something the pregnant woman can control.
- An older pregnant woman is more likely to develop gestational diabetes – particularly if she is more than 35 years of age.
- A high risk factor for gestational diabetes is if the pregnant woman is overweight, or obese.
- There’s a higher risk of gestational diabetes for a woman who has previously given birth to a baby of high birth weight, meaning higher than the 90th percentile.
- Ethnicity also plays a part in the risk of gestational diabetes. Those who are more at risk of developing gestational diabetes are those who are African-Americans, African-Caribbean, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and those from the Indian area.
- Smokers are at great risk of developing gestational diabetes. In fact, they are at more than double the rate of others.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome is also seen as a risk factor for gestational diabetes, though some of the studies aren’t clear.
All of these factors together, however, only account for forty to sixty percent of the women who have gestational diabetes. The others with gestational diabetes have no identifiable risk factors. Because of this fact, it is important for all pregnant women to have a screening for gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.
For those who do have some symptoms, they tend to be increased thirst, fatigue, increased need to urinate, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, yeast infections, and bladder infections. Since many of these can also be a typical condition during even healthy pregnancies, screening for gestational diabetes is a must.
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