HEALTHIER YOU: Coping with gestational diabetes
Coping with gestational diabetes
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES
Women’s bodies undergo significant changes during pregnancy, and some of those changes can present considerable risks.
One serious condition that expectant mothers can develop is gestational diabetes — which is typically diagnosed in the late stages of pregnancy, and results from elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels in pregnant women.
Some research suggests that the placenta, which supports an unborn baby’s growth, may cause “insulin resistance.” Pregnant women contract gestational diabetes when their bodies are unable to make and use the insulin needed for a healthy pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be converted into energy.
Untreated or poorly-controlled gestational diabetes can hurt an unborn baby. Here’s how: gestational diabetes causes a woman’s pancreas to work overtime to produce insulin, but without lowering blood glucose levels. Although insulin does not cross the placenta, glucose and other nutrients do. When a fetus suffers from high blood glucose, its developing pancreas responds by producing extra insulin. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat.
This can lead to macrosomia, or a “fat baby.” Babies with macrosomia face health problems of their own — including higher risk for breathing problems, potential shoulder damage during birth, and a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes during childhood.
It is important to be checked for gestational diabetes during your pregnancy as this condition can often be treated with diet and exercise. When medication is required for treatment, the earlier treatment begins, the less risk of problems for mom and baby.
For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care offices at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.