Are You at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?

Pregnancy

Affecting 18% of pregnancies, gestational diabetes is a temporary condition which results in high blood glucose levels that can affect the health of the mother and the developing child. The disease affects the body’s use of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas to facilitate the uptake of glucose into the cells. When glucose is not taken up into the cells, it remains in the bloodstream and can reach levels that are dangerous for the mother and child.

You may be at risk for developing this temporary form of diabetes if you:

  • Are older than 25 years of age when you become pregnant
  • Have had an unexplained stillbirth or miscarriage in the past
  • Suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Were overweight before you became pregnant (a BMI of 30 or more)
  • Have a family history of diabetes mellitus or if you have had gestational diabetes during past pregnancies

Gestational diabetes generally affects women late in pregnancy, while the child is still growing at a rapid rate. If managed properly, it is likely that women affected with this condition will deliver healthy babies. If the mother’s blood glucose levels are not kept under control, however, gestational diabetes can increase the risk of her child suffering from the following conditions: macrosomia (when the baby’s body is larger than normal), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), jaundice, respiratory distress syndrome, low mineral levels, and even death.

Following a treatment plan formulated by a knowledgeable physician will help to ensure healthy gestation and delivery. Depending on the patient, her doctor will recommend a personalized treatment plan to help keep the patient’s blood sugar levels under control. If you are interested in learning more about the diagnosis and management of gestational diabetes, contact the staff of Good Samaritan Hospital of San Jose, CA by calling (408) 559-2011.

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