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What Is Gestational Diabetes?

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Gestational diabetes only happens during pregnancy. If you have it, you can still have a healthy baby, with help from your doctor and by doing simple things every day to manage your blood sugar.

After your baby is born, you may not have diabetes anymore. Gestational diabetes makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but it won’t definitely happen.

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Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause debilitating nerve pain.

Here's some helpful information:

Causes

During pregnancy, the placenta makes hormones that can lead to a buildup of sugar in your blood. Usually, your pancreas can make enough insulin to handle that. If not, your blood sugar levels will rise and can cause gestational diabetes.

Are You at Risk?

You are more likely to get gestational diabetes if:

  • You were overweight before you got pregnant.
  • You are African-American, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American.
  • Your blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to be diabetes.
  • Diabetes runs in your family.
  • You’ve had gestational diabetes before.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will check to see if you have gestational diabetes ASAP if you’re likely to get it, or between weeks 24 and 28 of your pregnancy if you’re not at high risk.

To test for gestational diabetes, you will quickly drink a sugary drink. This will raise your blood sugar levels. An hour later, you’ll take a blood test to see how your body handled all that sugar. If the result shows that your blood sugar is 140 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or greater, you will fast for a few hours and then take another blood test.

If your results are normal but you have a high risk of getting gestational diabetes, you may need a follow-up test later in your pregnancy to make sure you still don’t have it.

Treatment

To treat your gestational diabetes, your doctor will ask you to:

  • Check your blood sugar levels four or more times a day.
  • Do urine tests that check for ketones, which mean that your diabetes is not under control
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s in line with your doctor’s recommendations
  • Make exercise a habit

Your doctor will track how much weight you gain and let you know if you need to take insulin or other medicine for your gestational diabetes.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH on April 03, 2015
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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