Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes effects on unborn child


Pregnancy is one of the best moments that could happen in your life. The idea of carrying life inside you for nine months is overwhelming, scary, and exciting all at the same time. However, there is one condition that could affect your entire pregnancy experience – gestational diabetes.

Apparently, zero history of diabetes does not mean you are safe from this condition. Learn more about this type of diabetes, the effect on your unborn child, and how to treat it.

What is gestational diabetes?

Unlike other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy, usually at the second half. This happens when you have too much sugar or your body does not produce enough insulin to meet the demands of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, your body has to make extra insulin because the hormones from the placenta make your body less responsive to it. If your body is unable to meet the extra demand, then your blood sugar levels will spike and leads to gestational diabetes.

If you had this condition once, then there is a higher chance that you will have it again on your next pregnancy.

How does it affect your unborn child?

It is important for pregnant women to undergo glucose screening test between 24 to 28 weeks to check if you are a candidate. In case you are, your doctor will help you come up with solutions to treat gestational diabetes and minimize possible harm on your unborn child.

Otherwise, the excess blood sugar will find away to go inside the placenta and harm your baby. Effects include –

  • Your baby being large for its gestational age, also known as macrosomia. This could lead to induced labor, caesarean birth or shoulder dystocia.
  • Premature birth, which results to other complications such as respiratory distress syndrome or newborn jaundice.
  • Your baby might experience low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia. This must be closely monitored until your baby is able to make the right amount of insulin.
  • Shoulder dystocia, wherein you are able to deliver your baby through normal spontaneous delivery but your baby’s shoulder is stuck behind your pelvic bone. This could be dangerous since your baby may not be able to breathe.
  • Higher risk of miscarriage.
  • Stillbirth, or death of the baby at the time of birth

What can you do about it?

The good news is gestational diabetes goes away after childbirth. Still, this doesn’t mean that you won’t do anything about it. Before you leave the hospital and during your sixth week post-natal check-up, your doctor will also test you for diabetes.

Although there is no guarantee, here are some of the things you can do.

  • Keep your weight under control. This also means cutting your calories and staying away from fatty meals, processed food, and junk since it has nothing to do with your unborn baby.
  • Eat healthy. Plan your meals and incorporate healthy choices such as brown rice, lean protein, fruits, and veggies.
  • Include exercise in your routine. Pilates, yoga, and walking are some of the safe exercises for pregnant women. Just make sure your doctor also gave you a go signal to work out for you and your baby’s safety.

The key here is prevention. Gestational diabetes could lead to type 2 diabetes later on. Take care of yourself and you will surely kiss diabetes goodbye.


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