Diabetes in Pregnancy
Gestational diabetes is a serious health issue during pregnancy and it may have negative implications both on the mother as well as the fetus. During pregnancy, the hormones secreted by the placenta cause elevation in blood glucose levels. If pancreas fails to make enough insulin to compensate the rise in the blood sugar levels, it leads to gestational diabetes. About 10% of pregnant women in India develop gestational diabetes at some point during their pregnancy. Women who have conceived after the age of 35, have family history of diabetes or is obese has greater risk of diabetes during pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms
Most women with gestational diabetes do not have any noticeable signs and symptoms. However, some women may experience the following symptoms associated with diabetes:
- Unusual thirst
- Increased appetite
- Blurred vision
- Increased urinary frequency
How to find out whether I have gestational ?
Glucose tolerance test is the most reliable test to confirm the diagnosis of gestational diabetes. This test is done between 24th – 28th weeks of pregnancy.
Before taking a glucose tolerance test
- Do not alter your diet plan. Eat a normal diet, which you follow on regular days.
- Avoid consuming caffeinated and any other beverages, as they can meddle with the test results.
- Inform your doctor if you are taking any diuretics, beta-blockers or other medications, as they can interfere with your test results.
During the test
In order to assess gestational diabetes, fasting as well as post-meal blood samples are collected. You will be asked to consume a sugary drink which would raise your blood sugar levels. Following this, your blood sample would be collected and the blood glucose levels would be analyzed
How to read your test results?
Increase in blood sugar levels beyond normal indicates gestational diabetes. Refer to the table below to find out the normal blood sugar levels during pregnancy
Time of sample collection
Blood sugar levels (normal range)
|1 hour after meal||180 mg/dL|
|2 hours after meal||155 mg/dL|
|3 hours after meal||140 mg/dL|
If gestational diabetes is not carefully managed, it can pose a significant health risk to you and the developing foetus.
The maternal complications associated with gestational diabetes are
- Miscarriage: Women having gestational diabetes are at a high risk of losing the pregnancy.
- Preeclampsia: Gestational diabetes may cause high blood pressure during pregnancy which may have deleterious effects on the mother and baby.
- Polyhydramnios: Women with gestational diabetes may have excessive amniotic fluid.
The fetal complications associated with gestational diabetes are
- Birth defects: Infants of mothers with gestational diabetes are more prone to have birth defects such as neural tube defects and are at a greater risk of developing congenital abnormalities.
- Excessive weight: Macrosomia is the most common fetal complication of gestational diabetes. In this condition, where the baby weighs relatively more than normal and caesarean birth may be needed.
- Premature birth: Gestational diabetes increases the risk of early labour, which can, in turn, lead to respiratory distress syndrome or jaundice in the infant.
If gestational diabetes is left untreated, it can cause fetal or neonatal loss. However, it is quite possible to reduce the risk of complications of gestational diabetes, if it is diagnosed and treated on time.
How to treat gestational diabetes?
It is required to check for any problems and closely monitor your pregnancy while having gestational diabetes.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels: Women with gestational diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and should try to maintain the sugar levels within a healthy range.
- Diet: Follow a diabetic diet plan and eat small frequent meals to prevent excess weight gain and maintain normal blood sugar level.
- Exercise: Exercising utilizes the glucose that is stored in your body and converts it to energy. Thus, regular exercise helps in reducing blood sugar levels.
The doctor would closely monitor your baby growth and prescribe you certain medications such as metformin to control blood sugar. If the blood sugar levels are too high, you may be prescribed insulin therapy.
Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?
We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.
For appointments, please call 4444 2424.
- Gestational Diabetes. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/gestational-diabetes/ Accessed on 03-10-2017
- What is Gestational diabetes?. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/gestational-diabetes-guide/gestational_diabetes. Accessed on 03-10-2017
- Gestational Diabetes. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gestational-diabetes/symptoms-causes/dxc-20317176 . Accessed on 03-10-2017
- Managing gestational diabetes. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/gestational-diabetes/Pages/Treatment.aspx. Accessed on 03-10-2017