In this article you will learn
Gestational diabetes is one of the most common complications that can occur during pregnancy. Due to the fact that the typical symptoms are usually only mildly pronounced and can certainly be confused with “normal” pregnancy symptoms, it is all the more important to have the blood sugar level checked during the statutory screening.
In the following article you can read how gestational diabetes develops, what risks it can cause and what you can do about it.
Origins of gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a glucose tolerance disorder. This occurs more frequently in the second half of pregnancy, as the body produces more hormones (oestrogens, progesterone, cortisol, prolactin, etc.) that are important for the optimal development of the child. Therefore, the blood sugar test is usually carried out by the gynecologist between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.
The production of these hormones reduces the blood sugar-lowering effect of the hormone insulin. Mild insulin resistance develops.
As a rule, your body still produces enough insulin to counteract the increased blood sugar level. However, if the body's own insulin production is no longer sufficient to cover the additional requirement, this is referred to as gestational diabetes. Around 5.38% of all pregnant women in Germany are affected by this disease.
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dangers & Risk factors for gestational diabetes
One of the dangers is that this type of metabolic disease usually has few symptoms. This means that it is relatively difficult to recognize.
The typical symptoms are thirst, weakness and urinary urgency. However, this type of complaints also occurs so often during pregnancy.
The first signs could be:
- The baby is excessively gaining weight and size, since the increased amount of sugar directly affects the baby passes over and is thus overfed.
- Frequent urinary tract infections and vaginal infections, as the increased sugar in the urine creates good conditions for fungi and bacteria.
- An increased amount of amniotic fluid
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Above all, however, gestational diabetes is dangerous for the baby.
It often grows much too quickly and its metabolism adjusts to a constant oversupply of carbohydrates even before birth. The increased weight can lead to complications during childbirth.
In addition, cardiac malformations can develop if the disease occurs early in pregnancy and is not treated. It can also happen that the maturation of the alveoli is delayed and the child may have to be ventilated.
There is also an increased risk that the children will later become overweight and develop diabetes themselves.
The biggest risk factorsare – in addition to genetics and age – an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise (sport) and the resulting overweight. Fat cells release messenger substances that promote insulin resistance in the body cells. The tissue then often responds only weakly to the body's own insulin, which means that more insulin is needed in order to be able to absorb sugar into the cells.
Treatment of gestational diabetes< /h2>
In fact, you can achieve a lot with a change in diet and physical activity.
First things first: Please do not undertake any strict, self-imposed diets. These could have a negative impact on the development and care of your child. Please always act in consultation with your doctor.
Together you can discuss a change in diet, which is all about eating a balanced and high-fiber diet. Above all, avoid sweets, fast food and sweet drinks in order to bring the blood sugar level to a healthy level. It also makes sense to eat several small meals throughout the day to avoid blood sugar spikes.
Also: Make sure you exercise daily.
You can achieve a lot through nutrition and sport and usually avert the greatest dangers for yourself and your baby. Click here for the matching articles Nutrition– and exercise during pregnancy.
If these measures are not sufficient, treatment with insulin injections must be considered.
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