Gestational diabetes is a condition that can be encountered in pregnancy in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose (blood sugar) levels during pregnancy particularly during their third trimester.
In Gestational diabetes diabetes, your blood sugar levels will generally return to a normal level soon after you give birth. Working with your doctor to control and monitor your blood sugar levels will help prevent complications of gestational diabetes from affecting you or your baby during your pregnancy. There are a number of treatment options available that will also help keep both you and your baby as healthy as possible during your pregnancy:
- Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels: Depending on what your doctor recommends, they may want you to check your blood sugar levels up to five times every day – after waking up in the morning, after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and one more time before you go to sleep at night – so they can more accurately monitor any changes and act accordingly.
- Eat Healthy: While doctors say that losing weight during your pregnancy is not a healthy idea, they can still work with you to ensure that you eat the right kinds of foods – especially ones with low fat and calorie counts that are high in nutrition and fiber like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits – that will allow you to avoid gaining an excessive amount of weight. Your doctor may recommend you see a nutritionist to create a healthy and affordable diet that fits your lifestyle.
- Stay Active: It’s important to work with your doctor or a qualified trainer to set a workout regimen that is safe for you to follow while pregnant. With the right amount of physical activity, your body’s blood sugar levels can drop to safer levels, your cells will be stimulated into receiving more glucose to be used as energy, and can even increase your cell’s sensitivity which can lower your body’s insulin production – all very important things to managing your gestational diabetes.
- Medication: In cases where a healthy diet and exercise aren’t enough to maintain a healthy blood sugar level – approximately 10 to 20 percent of mothers require insulin to help with their gestational diabetes – your doctor may prescribe medication to keep you and your infant healthy.
Once your pregnancy is over, you still need to monitor your blood sugar levels even if they return to normal. Not only do you have a higher risk of gestational diabetes in each following pregnancy, you’re also at risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
If your gestational diabetes aren’t managed properly, both you and your fetus are at risk of developing a variety of birth injuries, health issues, and complications. Far too many cases each year aren’t handled with the proper care, and put thousands of pregnant mothers and their children at risk.
Health Complications Affecting the Infant
- Type 2 Diabetes: The risk of developing type 2 diabetes isn’t limited to the mother; without proper care, the infant could develop it as well, and also increase their risk of becoming obese.
- Excessive Birth Weight or “macrosomia:” The extra glucose in the mother’s bloodstream created by the gestational diabetes can cross the placenta, causing the fetus’ pancreas to increase its insulin production which can cause macrosomia – a condition where the fetus grows too large. If the fetus grows larger than 9 pounds, they are at a heightened risk of becoming stuck in the birth canal during delivery, which can lead to a problems during labor and possibly a birth injury or the need to perform a cesarean delivery (C-section).
- Hypoglycemia: The increased production of insulin can cause the infant to have dangerously low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, soon after they are born. If an infant suffering from hypoglycemia isn’t diagnosed promptly and treated properly such as feeding them as soon as possible or administering a glucose solution intravenously – they could suffer from seizures and or brain injury.
- Preterm Birth and Respiratory Distress Syndrome: A mother with gestational diabetes has an increased risk of going into labor early due to the heightened blood sugar levels. Depending on how early the infant is born, the infant could have difficulty breathing because of respiratory distress syndrome until their lungs have developed to the point where they can function without assistance. While the risk increases the farther the delivery happens from the due date, the infant could still be born on time and suffer from respiratory distress syndrome if the mother has gestational diabetes.
Health Complications Affecting the Mother
- Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure: While the mother could have high blood pressure by itself, it could be a sign that they are suffering from preeclampsia, a dangerous pregnancy condition that threatens the lives of both the mother and the infant.
- Diabetes: As previously stated, mothers who suffer from gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, and are also at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes in future pregnancies.
It’s your doctor’s responsibility to monitor your and your infant’s blood sugar levels at all points of the pregnancy to make sure that they are born healthy. Failing to do so can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions that affect both you and your infant. If you suffered from any complications caused by negligence, you may be able to file a medical malpractice suit in order to cover any damages you or your baby incur, including the cost of necessary medical care. At Aldous \ Walker LLP, our Dallas birth injury attorneys are determined to fight for our clients throughout their lawsuit, even if that fight leads us into the courtroom. Call us today at (214) 307-6307 to speak with one of our birth injury lawyers, or fill out our online form to discuss your case.
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