Diabetes During Pregnancy: Know the reasons, symptoms, risks and treatment
Diabetes is a condition in which the body can’t make enough insulin, or can’t use insulin normally. Insulin is a hormone. High blood sugar can cause problems all over the body. It can damage blood vessels and nerves. It can harm the eyes, kidneys, and heart. In early pregnancy, high blood sugar can lead to birth defects in a growing baby. Thus extreme caution needs to be maintained to avoid Diabetes during Pregnancy.
Reasons leading to Diabetes during pregnancy
Some women have diabetes before they get pregnant. This is called presentational diabetes. Other women may get a type of diabetes that only happens in pregnancy. This is called gestational diabetes. Pregnancy can change how a woman’s body uses glucose. This can make diabetes worse, or lead to gestational diabetes.
During pregnancy, an organ called the placenta gives the growing baby nutrients and oxygen. The placenta also makes hormones. In late pregnancy, the hormones estrogen, cortisol, and human placental lactogen can block insulin. When insulin is blocked, it’s called insulin resistance. Glucose can’t go into the body’s cells. The glucose stays in the blood and makes the blood sugar levels go up.
Risk for diabetes during pregnancy
The risk factors for diabetes in pregnancy depend on the type of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes often occurs in children or young adults, but it can start at any age.
- Overweight women are more likely to have Type 2 diabetes.
- Overweight women are more likely to have gestational diabetes. It’s also more common in women who have had gestational diabetes before. And it’s more common in women who have a family member with Type 2 diabetes. Women with twins or other multiples are also more likely to have it.
Symptoms of diabetes during pregnancy
There are no common symptoms of diabetes. Most women don’t know they have it until they get tested.
How is Diabetes during pregnancy treated?
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment focuses on keeping blood glucose levels in the normal range, and may include:
- A careful diet with low amounts of carbohydrate foods and drinks
- Blood glucose monitoring
- Insulin injections
- Oral medicines for hypoglycemia
Possible complications of diabetes during pregnancy
Most complications happen in women who already have diabetes before they get pregnant. Possible complications include:
- Need for insulin injections more often
- Very low blood glucose levels, which can be life-threatening if untreated
- Ketoacidosis from high levels of blood glucose, which may also be life-threatening if untreated
- Birth defects
- Birth injury
- Trouble breathing
Also read: The Diabetes Diet