Every year, two to ten out of every hundred pregnant people in the United states are diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD). It’s not completely clear what causes gestational diabetes in women who have not shown any sign of blood sugar issues. However, there are certain risk factors both for getting gestational diabetes when you are pregnant, and for ending up with Type 2 diabetes after you deliver.
At Serrano OBGyn in San Antonio, TX, Dr. Christopher Serrano works with people who experience gestational diabetes during their pregnancy, and helps them to navigate their condition for a safe birth and a healthy baby.
What happens if you get gestational diabetes
If you have gestational diabetes, your body starts having trouble handling the glucose that is released into your blood when you eat. Normally, a hormone called insulin (produced by your pancreas) releases into your body and takes the glucose out of your bloodstream to be stored in other cells, to be used as fuel to create energy.
If your blood cells become insulin resistant, the glucose can’t get out of your bloodstream. This makes your blood glucose levels, or “blood sugar” very high, and can cause thirst and frequent urination (as your body tries to flush the glucose out.) You might also experience fatigue, because the energy you should get from your food never gets made because the glucose is trapped in your blood.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes
Patients who are overweight or obese before they get pregnant are at increased risk for gestational diabetes. So are people who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), heart disease, or high blood pressure.
Having GD makes you more likely to have a very large baby and a large placenta. It also makes you more likely to have GD in later pregnancy, and increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life. If you have had a baby weighing more than nine pounds in the past, or a family member of yours has GD, you should have your blood glucose checked in the first months of pregnancy.
Stabilizing your blood glucose levels
There are several things you can do to keep your blood sugar stable.
Check your blood sugar frequently using a testing machine, testing strips, and a tiny lancet to prick your finger for a drop of blood (your doctor can show you how).
Write down your blood sugar levels at the same time every day, as well as your exercise and your meals, and look for patterns that can help you learn what raises and what lowers your sugar levels.
Tweak your meal times, food types and amounts, and exercise routine to help stabilize your glucose. If you experience highs and lows, talk to your doctor, You may need medication to help your body manage excess glucose.
Think your blood sugar may be high? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Serrano by calling 210-761-5309 or book an appointment online today.