Can You Get Rid Of Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy
Unlike other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes usually goes away on its own and soon after delivery blood sugar levels return to normal, says Dr. Tania Esakoff, clinical director of the Prenatal Diagnosis Center. There is no need for gestational diabetes to take away from the joys of pregnancy.
What If I Have Gestational Diabetes
GD is increasingly common, with about 7% of women having the condition. If you are found to have GD, you will work closely with your health care provider to keep your blood glucose levels in a healthy range. This involves choosing a healthy diet, gaining the recommended weight during your pregnancy, getting exercise, and if needed, taking insulin or pills to lower your blood sugar. Your babys wellbeing will be carefully monitored by regular measurements of growth and amniotic fluid volume. If you have GD you will be offered a repeat glucose tolerance test between 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum to detect prediabetes and diabetes. You may also be offered induction between 38-40 weeks of pregnancy. Finally, it is strongly recommended that women with GD breastfeed their infants.
What Causes Gestational Diabetes
Why do we need to test all pregnant women for gestational diabetes? Well, for starters, blame the placentathe organ that connects your baby to your blood supplythe biggest culprit behind the question what causes gestational diabetes?
Our bodies rely on a hormone called insulin to move glucose from our blood into our cells, where it can be used for energy. Early in pregnancy, women begin producing more insulin.
Then, around 20 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta starts releasing hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones block the effects of insulin, making you insulin resistant. You need more and more insulin to move glucose into your cells. To compensate, womens bodies pump out extra insulin. In normal pregnancy, insulin needs can rise by 200-300%.
If your body cannot keep up with the rising need for insulin, your blood sugar rises, and you develop gestational diabetes.
Around 20 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta starts releasing hormones.
These hormones block the effects of insulin, making you insulin resistant.
When you are insulin resistant, you need more insulin to move glucose into your cells.
When you need more insulin to move glucose into your cells, your body pumps out even more insulin.
If your body cant keep up with the rising need for insulin, your blood sugar rises, and you develop gestational diabetes.
The rise in insulin resistance starts around 20 weeks. That is why women are screened at 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.
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What Is A Normal Blood Glucose Level
According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal blood glucose level on a gestational diabetes test is lower than 140 mg/dL .
If you have a blood glucose level between 140 and 199 mg/dL , its considered impaired glucose tolerance, or prediabetes.
A blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher may mean you have gestational diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes Screening By Pharmacists
Some pharmacists offer short appointments where you can find out your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You usually pay a fee for this service, which involves answering a series of questions.
A diabetes screening test does not diagnose you and is not completely accurate. Instead, it can be used as a guide. Depending on the results from this screening, you or your loved one may be advised to seek further medical help from your local GP. If you dont appear to be at risk at the time of screening, this doesnt mean you arent still at risk of developing type 2 in the future. If you later find signs of diabetes its worth being screened again, or being tested for diabetes.
Some pharmacists offer blood tests to diagnose diabetes, but youll need to pay for these unlike having them through your doctor.
Check your risk
If you dont want to attend a diabetes screening test but want to know your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, you can check your risk for free by using our online risk score.
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What Is The Main Cause Of Gestational Diabetes
During pregnancy, your placenta makes hormones that cause glucose to build up in your blood. Usually, your pancreas can send out enough insulin to handle it. But if your body cant make enough insulin or stops using insulin as it should, your blood sugar levels rise, and you get gestational diabetes.
How Can I Control Gestational Diabetes In My Third Trimester
Gestational diabetes can be treated with diet, lifestyle changes, and medicines, in some instances. Your doctor will recommend dietary changes, such as decreasing your carbohydrate intake and increasing fruits and veggies. Adding low-impact exercise can also help. In some instances, your doctor may prescribe insulin.
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Blood Tests Used To Diagnose Diabetes
We will explain below the different blood tests that could be used to diagnose your diabetes. Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have and will then decide which type of blood test to use.
Having blood tests doesn’t need to be worrying, theyre straightforward and shouldnt take very long. Depending on the test you have you may be required to fast beforehand. If you do need to fast, a healthcare professional will let you know in advance.
Follow A Healthy Eating Plan
Your health care team will help you make a healthy eating plan with food choices that are good for you and your baby. The plan will help you know which foods to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat. Food choices, amounts, and timing are all important in keeping your blood glucose levels in your target range.
If youre not eating enough or your blood glucose is too high, your body might make ketones. Ketones in your urine or blood mean your body is using fat for energy instead of glucose. Burning large amounts of fat instead of glucose can be harmful to your health and your babys health.
Your doctor might recommend you test your urine or blood daily for ketones or when your blood glucose is above a certain level, such as 200. If your ketone levels are high, your doctor may suggest that you change the type or amount of food you eat. Or, you may need to change your meal or snack times.
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Screening For Gestational Diabetes
During your first antenatal appointment at around week 8 to 12 of your pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will ask you some questions to determine whether you’re at an increased risk of gestational diabetes.
If you have 1 or more risk factors for gestational diabetes you should be offered a screening test.
The screening test is called an oral glucose tolerance test , which takes about 2 hours.
It involves having a blood test in the morning, when you have not had any food or drink for 8 to 10 hours . You’re then given a glucose drink.
After resting for 2 hours, another blood sample is taken to see how your body is dealing with the glucose.
The OGTT is done when you’re between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant. If you’ve had gestational diabetes before, you’ll be offered an OGTT earlier in your pregnancy, soon after your booking appointment, then another OGTT at 24 to 28 weeks if the first test is normal.
Find out more about an OGTT.
Take Prescribed Medicine As Directed
In some cases, diet and lifestyle changes alone are insufficient to manage gestational diabetes. If your doctor feels that your GDM condition necessitates medication, it is important to take it as directed by your health care provider. There are some oral medications that are safe to be used during your pregnancy to control your blood sugar levels. In fact, as many as 50% of women with gestational diabetes need insulin injections to keep their blood sugar under control.
It is important not to forget taking any prescribed medication. Missing even a single dose can have a severe effect on your blood sugar level. When your blood sugar levels fluctuate too much during pregnancy, it increases the risk of complications for both you and your baby.
Along with any diabetes medication, you should also take your iron and calcium supplements as directed by your doctor.
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How Is Hypoglycemia Diagnosed
A medical diagnosis of hypoglycemia typically requires satisfying the “Whipple triad.” These three criteria include:
- Documented low glucose levels , often tested along with insulin levels and sometimes with C-peptide levels)
- Symptoms of hypoglycemia when the blood glucose level is abnormally low
- Reversal of the symptoms when blood glucose levels are returned to normal
Primary hypoglycemia is rare and often diagnosed in infancy. People may have symptoms of hypoglycemia without really having low blood sugar. In such cases, dietary changes such as eating frequent small meals and several snacks a day and choosing complex carbohydrates over simple sugars may be enough to ease symptoms.
Other Tips For Checking:
- With some meters, you can also use your forearm, thigh, or fleshy part of your hand.
- There are spring-loaded lancing devices that make sticking yourself less painful.
- If you use your fingertip, stick the side of your fingertip by your fingernail to avoid having sore spots on the frequently used part of your finger.
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Why The Test Is Performed
This test checks for gestational diabetes. Most pregnant women have a glucose screening test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. The test may be done earlier if you have a high glucose level in your urine during your routine prenatal visits, or if you have a high risk for diabetes.
Women who have a low risk for diabetes may not have the screening test. To be low-risk, all of these statements must be true:
- You have never had a test that showed your blood glucose was higher than normal.
- Your ethnic group has a low risk for diabetes.
- You do not have any first-degree relatives with diabetes.
- You are younger than 25 years old and have a normal weight.
- You have not had any bad outcomes during an earlier pregnancy.
The Only Way You Can Find Out If You Or A Loved One Has Diabetes Is From Blood Tests That Measure You Blood Glucose Levels These Can Be Arranged Through Your Gp
A diagnosis of diabetes is always confirmed by laboratory results. Youll usually get the results of your blood test back in a few days. If you have symptoms that came on quickly and youve been taken into hospital, the results should come back in an hour or two.
A finger prick test using a home testing kit may show you have high blood sugar levels but won’t confirm you have diabetes.
A normal blood test result will show you don’t have diabetes. But the result will also show if you have diabetes or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
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What Will Happen After The Baby Is Born
You can stop sugar monitoring and/or insulin after the baby is born.Your family doctor will do another GCT about three months after the baby is bornto make sure that your sugar is normal again. Remember, even if the GCT after the baby is born is normal, you are still at a 10-50% higher risk in the future of diabetes. You can reduce this risk by exercising, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight.
What Is Normal Fasting Blood Sugar And What Is A Diabetes Blood Sugar Level
The results of the fasting blood sugar test will come back as a number:
- 99 mg/dL or lower: This is a normal fasting blood sugar level.
- 100125 mg/dL: Fasting blood sugar in this range typically indicates prediabetes. This means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
- 126 mg/dL or above: This indicates high blood sugar, the main sign of diabetes.
If you have a high fasting blood sugar level, your healthcare provider may repeat the test to make sure. If the test reveals that you have prediabetes, your healthcare provider will recommend you repeat the fasting blood sugar test every year or two. The results will help you know whether you are progressing to Type 2 diabetes.
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How To Do An At
Instead, Steph opted for an at-home glucose test, a fantastic option for mamas who arent interested in the traditional testing methods.
The first thing Steph did to know her risk was an in-office procedure. She requested that her care providers conduct a hemoglobin A1C test during the first trimester.
The A1C test is a simple test that measures your average blood sugar over the past three months.
She explains: If your A1c is 5.9% or greater during the first trimester, theres a good chance youll screen positive for the glucose tolerance test. This is a great, early proactive step to take for all pregnant women!
Then, around the time when she would normally have done a traditional glucose screening test, she requested a fasting glucose test that would give her OBGYN a baseline measurement of her blood sugar levels, thus making it easier to interpret the at-home test she was about to perform.
What Does The Test Result Mean
Screening and Diagnosis
High levels of glucose most frequently indicate diabetes, but many other diseases and conditions can also cause elevated blood glucose.
A random glucose level in a person with signs and symptoms of diabetes and hyperglycemia that is equal to or greater than 200 mg/dL indicates diabetes.
The following table summarizes the meaning of fasting glucose results.
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When Should You Test Your Blood Sugar
It depends on which type of diabetes you have:
- Type 1 diabetes. Itâs up to your doctor. They could suggest you test anywhere between four and 10 times a day. For example, you could test before meals and snacks, before and after exercise, before bed, and even during the night. You may also need to check more often if youâre sick, making changes to your daily routine, or starting a new medication.
- Type 2 diabetes. It depends on what you take to treat your diabetes:
- Insulin. The doctor may tell you to test a few times a day, depending on the type and amount of insulin you use. Youâll probably test before meals and at bedtime if you’re taking multiple daily injections. You may need to test only twice daily, before breakfast and dinner, if you only use a long-acting insulin.
- Medications. If you use drugs to manage diabetes, your doctor will tell you how often to check your blood sugar.
- Lifestyle changes. If youâre relying on diet and exercise, you may not need to test your blood sugar daily.
Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes
Anyone can develop diabetes. Thats why its important to get tested if you notice any of the signs or symptoms. These arent always easy to spot. In fact, type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed through blood tests for other conditions or health issues instead.
Always talk to your doctor about any symptoms youre worried about, even if youve been tested. If youre not offered a test, you can ask for one .
If you feel very unwell or your symptoms have come on quickly seek an urgent appointment with your GP or call NHS 111.
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Diagnosed With Diabetes What Next
Being told you have diabetes or prediabetes will probably come as a shock. Being diagnosed with a long-term condition feels different for everyone. You might not know how to cope or what to do next. But if you get the right treatment and support, you can manage it and live well with diabetes.
Its usually quite difficult to take everything in and remember it. So think about asking a family member or friend to go along with you to meet your healthcare team and make a note of any questions you might have.
Often, your GP will start speaking to you about treatment and the steps you can take to start managing diabetes effectively. Theyll probably want to discuss your lifestyle habits, including what you eat and what exercise you do. Its important to consider whether you smoke and the amount of alcohol you drink as well. Knowing all this vital information can help them identify what steps need to be taken by you to live with diabetes safely.
What Happens During A Glucose In Urine Test
Your health care provider will need to collect a sample of your urine. During your office visit, you will receive a container in which to collect the urine and special instructions to ensure the sample is sterile. These instructions are often referred to as the “clean catch method.” The clean catch method includes the following steps:
Your health care provider may ask you to monitor your urine glucose at home with a test kit. He or she will provide you with either a kit or a recommendation of which kit to buy. Your urine glucose test kit will include instructions on how to perform the test and a package of strips for testing. Be sure to follow the kit instructions carefully, and talk to your health care provider if you have any questions.
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