Diabetes is a chronic health condition; however, Diabetes in pregnancy is considered a temporary illness. It is one of the common states, that might have its cons on your baby. Scientifically, it is called Gestational Diabetes (GD). Usually, GD is a reversible condition, which means that it could resolve after the Pregnancy period ends.
Then, what is the rate of developing GD in Pregnant women?
The Statistics show that 4 Pregnant Women out of 100 are at risk of GD. Also, a study from Medicine Journal in February 2019 states that from 100% of the pregnant women, 87.5% are having GD. For the rest of 12.5%, they are having either Diabetes Type 1 or Diabetes Type 2 before Pregnancy.
Gestational Diabetes Mechanism
Now, let’s discuss what actually occurs inside a Pregnant women’s body, which results in developing GD.
The mechanism by which GD occurs is quite simple. It is due to the relationship between the Pregnancy Hormones, and their effect on the body’s response to Insulin.
Normally during pregnancy, the placenta produces Hormones which support Pregnancy and encourage it to continue safely till the mother completes her 9 months. These Hormones decrease the risk of losing Pregnancy. The Placenta is the part that surrounds and protects the fetus. Also, it passes substances like nutrients, minerals, etc… from the mother to the baby. The Placental Hormonesincludes Progesterone, which opposes the effect of Insulin inside the body.
If your pancreas adapted itself to this resistance and increased Insulin secretion, your Blood Glucose Levels stay normal or close to normal (slightly high, which is normal during pregnancy). If it does not, your Blood Glucose Level will rise, due to insulin resistance and inability to adapt toward it.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
There are factors that increase your chance of developing GD, such as:
- Family history of diabetes type 1 or Diabetes Type 2.
- If you have a history of GD during a previous pregnancy.
- If you are Pre-diabetic. Pre-diabetes is a state between normal Blood Glucose Levels and high Blood Glucose Levels, Fasting Blood glucose levels between 100-125 mg/dl indicates a Pre-diabetic In other words, it is an abnormal level of Blood Glucose Level that put you at risk if it occurs before your pregnancy.
- Being overweight or obese.
- In case, you lost a baby before.
- Eating unhealthy food.
- Studies found that non-white women are at risk. Consequently, if you are from the following races: African American, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, etc…, you are labile to
- The age of the mother. Different studies on pregnancy and Diabetes Mellitus showed that there is a relationship between GD and the age of the Pregnant Woman. If you are 25 years or older, you are at risk.
- Metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of several disorders such as low HDL (which is the good cholesterol in the body), High blood pressure, high fats at the abdomen and Waist areas, and insulin resistance.
A study in September 2018 In Diabetes and Metabolic syndrome Clinical Research Department Journal concluded that during your first follow-up if your doctor diagnosed you with Metabolic Syndrome, you are at risk of developing GD.
A significant study in Sleep Medicine Journal in December 2018puts a relationship between the duration of sleep and Gestational Diabetes. When you sleep too much, your body’s normal metabolism becomes disturbed. As a result, Insulin Resistance increases. Eventually, you develop GD.
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
It is a condition of abnormally high levels of male hormone (Androgen) in women, which may lead to fertility problems, thus, women struggle to become pregnant. Polycystic ovary syndrome also increases Insulin Resistance.
To help you, there is an interesting scoring criterion to follow and determine if you are at risk or not.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you obese or overweight?
- Are there increased fats in the abdomen or pelvic areas?
- What about a family history of diabetes?
- Are you from the following races: Pacific Islander, Hispanic, African American, Asian American, American Indian or Alaska native?
- Do you have a History of:
- Losing a baby.
- Giving birth to an overweight baby.
- A condition that affects insulin function in the body.
- Do you have high blood pressure, high LDL (bad cholesterol) or heart disease?
To evaluate the scores and the possibility of risk, count your Yes answers and calculate your score.
If you scored:
- 2 or more, you are at high risk.
- 1, you are at average risk.
- 0, you are at low risk. However, this does not confirm 100% safety.
In conclusion, in most women, GD is a temporary state. Thus, do not worry because you will be normal again after Pregnancy. However, for most women, you shall take into consideration the risk factors, they are easy to manage and control. Also, it is preferable to search through your family history; so that you can take your precautions if any of your relatives got GD or Diabetic. Always check your current physical state and keep an eye on your lab results for your history of illness. Eventually, If you have any doubt seek your doctor’s help and follow-up. And always cheer up because even if you have GD, you still can manage it 😊.
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