Gestational Diabetes occurs when your body isn't able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in the blood to high levels and doesn't get used by your body for fuel.
Usually there are no symptoms, or the symptoms are mild and not life threatening to the pregnant woman. The blood sugar (glucose) level usually returns to normal after delivery.
Symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent infections, including those of the bladder, vagina, and skin
- Increase thirst
- Increased urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss despite increased appetite
You are at higher risk if you...
- Are older than 25 when you are pregnant
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds or had a birth defect
- Have high blood pressure
- Have too much amniotic fluid
- Have had an unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth
- Were overweight before your pregnancy
This type of diabetes occurs when pregnancy hormones interfere with the body's ability to use insulin -- the hormone that turns blood sugar into energy -- resulting in high blood sugar levels.
At least once a week, you'll visit your physician to get your blood sugar levels checked. If the prescribed diet fails to stabilize your blood sugar after about two weeks, you'll probably have to give yourself daily insulin injections throughout your pregnancy and monitor your blood sugar levels at home.
If you have gestational diabetes, you'll probably be able to control your blood sugar levels with diet and exercise. You will need to get 10 to 20 percent of your calories from protein (meat, poultry, fish, and legumes), less than 30 percent from fats, and the remainder from carbohydrates (bread, cereal, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables). You also may need to limit sweets.