What Is Gestational Diabetes?
However, if you become too resistant to insulin and glucose levels become too high, it can cause problems for you and your twins.
How Can It Affect My Babies and Me?
If you develop gestational diabetes, you're at greater risk for:
You're also at greater risk for having babies who have:
- Breathing problems
- Low glucose levels
- Obesity during childhood
- Risk of developing diabetes later in life
The good news? If you receive treatment and control gestational diabetes, your risk of problems is similar to the risks of other women. Your chances of having healthy twins are excellent.
And, after you deliver, glucose levels often return to normal. However, both you and your babies will have a higher risk of getting diabetes later. So your doctors will need to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels.
Who Is at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?
Certain things raise your risk of getting gestational diabetes. You are at increased risk if you:
- Are Hispanic, African-American, Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
- Were overweight before your pregnancy
- Have a family member with diabetes
- Are age 25 or older
- Had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- Had a previous very large baby (9 pounds or more) or a stillbirth
- Have had abnormal blood sugar tests before
- Are carrying twins or multiples
Screening For Gestational Diabetes
You can expect your doctor to assess your risk for gestational diabetes at your first prenatal visit.
If you are at high risk, you should have a blood test for gestational diabetes as soon as possible. If your test is negative, you should still repeat the test about week 24-28.
If you are not at high risk, you should still get screened about week 24-28.
To test for gestational diabetes, your doctor may order a test known as the glucose challenge test. You do not need to fast for this. If you fail the test then you will have an oral glucose tolerance test with 100gm. You will fast for a certain period beforehand (your doctor will tell you for how long). This two-step approach is commonly used.
If the Diagnosis Is Gestational Diabetes
Depending on how severe your gestational diabetes is, you may:
- Control it with diet and exercise
- Take oral medicine to keep your blood sugar at healthy levels
- Take insulin
To reduce risks to you and your twins, your doctor may induce labor earlier than your due date. You may need a cesarean, although most women with gestational diabetes are still able to deliver vaginally.
Gestational Diabetes Follow-up
It's important that you have a test for diabetes about 6 to 12 weeks after you deliver.
If that test is normal, your doctor will likely tell you to repeat the diabetes test at least every three years.
You also need to be sure your pediatrician monitors your twins for diabetes, as their risk is higher since you have had it.
This close follow-up of you and your twins will keep you all as healthy as possible.