When a healthy woman becomes pregnant, it is possible that she could develop gestational diabetes during the pregnancy. Usually occurring in the third trimester, this happens when the blood sugar levels become more elevated than normal. In most cases, this form of type 2 diabetes is present because the body produces less insulin or the woman is eating more foods that are rich in sugar content. Many women go through this condition without realizing that they have it because there are not many symptoms of gestational diabetes that will be noticed. However, there are risks of birth problems associated with the condition.
Some women that have this problem will give birth to a baby that is larger than normal. This could cause problems during the delivery and many cases need a Caesarean section delivery to promote the health of the new child. Other problems that could be present with the baby are that it could be born with a low blood sugar or have jaundice due to limited liver and kidney function. In addition, the child will have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
The first step to preventing this problem is for the woman to realize if she has the risk factors for the gestational form of diabetes. These risk factors would include a family history of the disease, obesity, smoking cigarettes, or a later maternal age. If any of these factors are present, a screening test should be done at regular intervals to monitor blood sugar levels. A woman that tests positive for the disease will need to manage their sugar levels through various diet modifications, such as eating less carbohydrates and sugary foods, and increased exercise. Gestational diabetes is a treatable condition and mothers that avoid high sugar levels will increase the health of their child.