Know the signs, risk factors for gestational diabetes (Healthy You)

Healthy You

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Pregnancy can be an exciting time but it’s also when a woman’s body goes through major changes.

When expecting, it’s also important to plan for the unexpected.

“Having so many physiological changes going on during pregnancy, including weight gain, the insulin is not as effective as it would be in normal situations, and that’s why some people do have this form of diabetes,” United Regional Endocrinologist Dr. Radhika Jaiswal said.

Jaiswal is talking about gestational diabetes which is usually recognized during the second or third trimester. If caught earlier, it’s likely diabetes that went undiagnosed.

“Frequent urination or frequent thirst, but again those can be the common symptoms during the pregnancy so it’s so hard to tell if you are really having symptoms from gestational diabetes,” Jaiswal said.

Because the signs are not always clear, your doctor will run a test around six or seven months. That’s about 24 to 28 weeks into your pregnancy.

“One test includes a very sweet drink that the doctor would ask you to drink in the office and an hour or two later they will check your blood and will see how your sugar numbers are after that load of carbohydrate drink,” Jaiswal said.

There is a long list of risk factors so if you are at risk, Jaiswal suggests trying to lose weight, avoid smoking, and do normal physical activity before trying to get pregnant.

“A previous history of gestational diabetes, or like borderline diabetes called prediabetes, a family history of having diabetes, previous history of a baby being born being nine pounds or more, certain race and ethnic groups are more prone to having gestational diabetes. Also, if you are overweight it can put you at risk for developing gestational diabetes,” Jaiswal said.

If not taken care of, gestational diabetes can put you and your baby at risk.

“For you, it will be more likely to have high blood pressure. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby can be at risk for being born weighing nine pounds or more which can cause difficulty during the delivery and can lead to you having a c-section. Your baby can have blood pressure and also your baby can have a risk of developing diabetes in the future,” Jaiswal said.

So before welcoming that new bundle of joy, listen to your body and also know you’re not alone.

Some women may be referred by their ob-gyn to an endocrinologist like Dr. Jaiswal who specializes in diabetes treatment.

Taking care of gestational diabetes looks different with each patient and may mean a new diet, exercise plan, or medication.

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