To understand gestational diabetes and why it is only present during pregnancy, we need to look at several factors.
According to the American Diabetes Association, a little over 130,000 pregnant women develop gestational diabetes each year. While the cause has not yet been determined, there are some signs that may be attributed to this condition.
The placenta contains hormones which contribute to the baby’s development. However, these hormones also prevent the build-up of insulin in the body which then causes the condition known as “insulin resistance”. As a result, when a woman cannot utilize the insulin during pregnancy, gestational diabetes occurs. What this means is that without sufficient insulin, blood sugar which would normally leave the blood, will build up and cause high blood sugar levels resulting in gestational diabetes.
Because of this, diagnosis of gestational diabetes usually occurs in the late stages of pregnancy. The treatment for this condition is immediate and includes a special diet and exercise program. It is meant to keep the blood sugar levels down.
Once gestational diabetes has been diagnosed, your doctor will monitor the progress you are making to ensure that the health of you and your baby is maintained. If warranted, insulin injections may have to be given because one of the problems associated with gestational diabetes is the risk of needing a cesarean section.
The good news is that gestational diabetes dissipates once the baby is born. However, there is a chance that you may develop this same condition if you become pregnant again.
There is evidence, however, that women who have gestational diabetes during pregnancy may develop a more serious form of diabetes later on. Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant women engage in a diet and exercise program which allows the body to use up the glucose that is present.
Regular check-ups with your ob-gyn doctor is recommended as well, not only to determine not only your overall health, but also to check the blood sugar levels. While gestational diabetes may occur only during pregnancy, it is nonetheless a condition which can result in Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes later on in life.