Could you have gestational diabetes and not know it? Nearly 10% of pregnant women find out they have gestational diabetes midway through their pregnancies. Most of them are surprised by the news because they feel the same way that they’ve always felt: healthy and normal.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects only pregnant women. It shows up in women who’ve never had diabetes before. And for many (but not all) such women, it goes away on its own after their babies are born.
You may never have signs of gestational diabetes. Most pregnant women don’t. That’s why your doctor has to screen you for it, usually between your 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. The test checks your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels after a glucose load.
Some pregnant women do notice subtle signs of gestational diabetes. The symptoms are similar to those of other forms of diabetes. But they’re also common symptoms in all pregnant women, so they’re easy to miss as the sign that something’s wrong.
Signs of gestational diabetes include:
- Feeling thirsty. You may want to drink a lot more than you usually do. You’ll feel thirsty even when you haven’t eaten something salty, run around on a hot day, or done something else that would make you want an extra glass of water.
- Being tired. If you feel fatigued, even early in the day, it may be more than the strain of being pregnant that’s causing you to be so tired. Ask your doctor if you could be at risk for gestational diabetes.
- Having a dry mouth. A dry mouth may go hand-in-hand with your increased thirst. You may want to drink more water to get rid of the parched feeling. Both could be signs of gestational diabetes.
When to See a Doctor
All pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes, whether you show any symptoms or not. But you should talk to your doctor if you begin to notice any of the symptoms.
If you do learn that you have gestational diabetes, your doctor may have you visit her office more often for the rest of your pregnancy so she can keep closer tabs on your health. And you might need to follow a strict diet and exercise plan, too, as well as monitor your blood sugar levels or take medicine to control your gestational diabetes.