Gestational Diabetes Symptoms To Look For During Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes symptoms can be hard to identify so it important to educate yourself on the disorder to help your doctor make a proper and early diagnosis and ensure the health and well being of your baby and yourself.

Gestational diabetes only occurs in pregnant women and is characterized by abnormally high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Approximately 4% of all pregnant women will experience the disorder.

How to recognize gestational diabetes symptoms

Hormonal changes that naturally occur during pregnancy cause changes in the way sugar is handled by the body. These hormonal changes can put women at risk for gestational diabetes especially during the third trimester.

Because gestational diabetes symptoms are subtle they are often seen as an acceptable or normal part of pregnancy. For this reason it is important to monitor your body and alert your doctor if any of the following symptoms are noticed so the proper tests can be performed.

Gestational diabetes symptoms:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • More frequent urination
  • Changes in vision such as blurriness

Risk factors associated with gestational diabetes

There are factors that can put you at higher risk for this disorder and they include:

  • Being overweight before your pregnancy begins
  • Being a member of an ethnic group including, Asian, Black, Native American or Hispanic
  • A family history of diabetes
  • Past pregnancy, giving birth to a baby 9 pounds or more
  • Past pregnancy resulting in a still birth
  • A personal history of gestational diabetes

How is gestational diabetes tested?

It is important to note that a woman does not have to present with any of the above mentioned gestational diabetes symptoms or risk factors to develop the condition. For this reason it is important to work closely with a doctor during your pregnancy.

"To screen for gestational diabetes, you will take a test called the oral glucose tolerance test. This test involves quickly drinking a sweetened liquid, which contains 50g of sugar. The body absorbs this sugar rapidly, causing blood sugar levels to rise within 30-60 minutes. A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm 1 hour after drinking the solution. The blood test measures how the sugar solution was metabolized (processed by the body)."

If your blood sugar level is high you will be asked to take a fasting blood test to confirm the presence of the disorder.

Steps to manage gestational diabetes

If a diagnosis is made your blood and urine will be monitored under the direction of your doctor and you will be asked to follow a specific diet that distributes your food intake evenly throughout the day. Your doctor will also discuss exercise and weight management with you and in some cases prescribe insulin if lifestyle changes are not enough.

By educating yourself and looking for the gestational diabetes symptoms mentioned above you can take control of your health and the health of your unborn baby.

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