Gestational diabetes (GDM) is diabetes that is initially diagnosed during pregnancy- not someone who is diabetic prior to getting pregnant. Gestational diabetes once diagnosed will last the length of the pregnancy, after which the mother’s blood sugars will return to normal. However, there are significant health risks associated with gestational diabetes and it is important to monitor and take measures to control blood sugars.

Risks:

  • Increased C-section deliveries
  • Risk of high birth weight baby >9 lbs
  • Premature deliveries- which increases risks of respiratory complications
  • Race- African American, Hispanic, Asian and Indigenous peoples are at higher risk
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in the mother post deliveries
  • Increased risk of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure)
  • Future risk of mother developing type 2 diabetes

Sign and Symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes can be increased thirst and increased need to urinate, yet there are often no symptoms. Your doctor will check for gestational diabetes as part of your prenatal visits, using a glucose challenge test.

How Can a Dietitian Help:;

  • Help you get to a healthy weight prior to pregnancy
  • Help control blood sugars
    1. learn what foods affect blood sugars
    2. learn how and when to eat

There is unclear evidence as to who will develop gestational diabetes, yet maintaining a healthy weight prior to pregnancy can decrease a woman’s risk.


     


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