Gestational Diabetes

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gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM

Every pregnant mother is filled with eager anticipation and joy waiting for the arrival of her newborn. Unfortunately this is also the time when some women develop gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM. Pregnant women who have high blood glucose levels or are glucose intolerant during pregnancy are usually prone to gestational diabetes. About 3.5% non-Aboriginal and 18% Aboriginal women stand the chances of acquiring GDM.


Usually gestational diabetes begins in the fifth or sixth month (within 24th and 28th weeks) of pregnancy. The blood test ordered by the obstetrician an hour after a glucose drink would help him to affirm the diagnosis of GDM, if the blood sugar level is higher than 130mg/dl. Your doctor may direct you to get some additional blood tests done to find out whether your blood sugar levels have been more than the normal in the previous three months.

The placenta sustains the baby in the womb, and its hormones help the baby to develop. But these hormones often hamper the action of insulin in the mother’s body creating problems for the mother, in utilizing insulin. As a result she has to be administered thrice the normal quantity of insulin.

When your body is unable to produce or utilize the stipulated amount of insulin required by the body then that marks the onset of Gestational diabetes. Devoid of the adequate insulin, the body is unable to break down the glucose present in the blood to energy. Thus, the body is left with high blood sugar levels, resulting in hyperglycemia.

Dangers arising out of this condition consist of:

  • An earlier detection of GDM
  • Overweight and more than 35 years of age
  • Prior record of polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Hirsutism (unnecessary body or facial hair)
  • Acanthosis nigricans (a skin disease marked by darkened skin patches)
  • An earlier offspring weighing over 9 pounds during birth (macrosomia)
  • A prior stillborn child or a child with congenital defects
  • A member of the potential diabetic women population of Aboriginal, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian or African lineage

The mainstay to the care of gestational diabetes is diet management. Assisted by your doctor, nurse, and nutritionist you can develop a specific food plan covering your dietary requirements, and exercise schedule targeted to lower the blood sugar level. Instead of three meals daily, you will be recommended to eat smaller helpings of food at regular intervals. Foods like sweets, desserts, sodas and fruit juices are strictly forbidden. The treatment also requires daily blood sugar testing prior to breakfast and another one-hour post meal.

Those pregnant women who are not capable of controlling their blood glucose levels in spite of their best possible endeavors, have to be advised daily injections of insulin by the doctor. Insulin usage is quite dependable and there are no chances of injuring the baby.


A proper diet coupled with physical activity is the key to the avoidance of gestational diabetes. Overweight people above the age of 35 years fall among the category comprising of 85% people who are prone to adult onset diabetes. By maintaining an ideal body weight, exercising regularly and eating healthy you can considerably decrease your chances of getting diabetes.

Remedy for Gestational Diabetes is yet to be discovered, despite the fact that it can be effectively restricted. Controlling the blood sugar and blood fat levels successfully along with weight control is one way of checking this malady and has to be done under the care of a doctor. Once gestational diabetes is curbed, it automatically averts major problems such as heart disease, kidney problems, retinal damage, and nerve injury.

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