CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF GESTATIONAL DIABETES

Gestational diabetes can affect the mother and her baby during and after birth. Hence it is important to know the causes and symptoms of gestational diabetes. Remember, the risk associated with gestational diabetes can be reduced if the symptoms of gestational diabetes are managed well.1

Causes of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman’s body fails to make the extra insulin needed during pregnancy. Insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, helps the body to use the glucose for energy and controls blood sugar levels.2
During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes many changes due to release of special female hormones, thereby leading to weight gain. Owing to these changes, the cells of the body are unable to use the insulin appropriately. This is known as insulin resistance. Presence of insulin resistance during late pregnancy is very common. Most pregnant women can overcome this insulin resistance by producing enough insulin, and those who cannot, develop gestational diabetes.2

Risk Factors for Development of Gestational Diabetes

Although any woman can develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, the risk increases1

If a woman is obese

If a woman has a family history of diabetes

If a woman previously delivered a baby whose weight was around 4.5 kg or more at birth

If a women had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy

The presence of any of these risk factors either alone or in a combination warrants a screening for gestational diabetes during pregnancy.1

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

You will be surprised to know that gestational diabetes usually does not cause any symptoms. However, most of the cases are detected when the blood sugar level is tested during pregnancy.1

When the blood sugar level gets very high, a woman may experience symptoms, such as1

Increased thirst

Feeling of tiredness

Dryness of the mouth

Tendency to urinate more often than usual

However, such symptoms are common during pregnancy as well. So, it is not necessary that they always indicate the presence of a problem. Your doctor will be the best person to guide you in this matter.1

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