What is gestational diabetes – symptoms, testing and treatment options explained

Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women.

The spike in blood sugar tends to occur in women’s second or third trimesters.

This can cause tiredness, dehydration and other symptoms that make patients feel run down.

In some cases, it can also cause complications when patients give birth.

Here’s everything you need to know about gestational diabetes and its symptoms.

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What is gestational diabetes?

The condition describes the spike in blood sugar levels during pregnancy.

Symptoms typically disappear after birth, but in some cases side-effects remain.

Women who have a BMI above 30 are most at risk of gestational diabetes.

Those who have had a baby weighing 10lbs or more, or with a family history of diabetes, are also vulnerable to experiencing symptoms.

At antenatal appointments, doctors conduct checks for the condition.

What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?

It can be tricky to spot the signs of the condition.

In many cases, gestational diabetes is only diagnosed after a blood test.

But in some instances, side-effects are visible when bodily sugar levels get too high.

These include the following symptoms of hyperglycaemia:

  • thirst and dehydration
  • frequent urination
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue

What are the risks of gestational diabetes?

Often, those with gestational diabetes don’t experience any complications during pregnancy.

But rare cases, the condition can cause birthing problems.

According to the NHS, this includes:

  • your baby growing larger than usual – which could create a need for induced labour or C-section
  • polyhydramnios – too much amniotic fluid
  • premature birth – when the baby is delivered before the 37th week of pregnancy
  • pre-eclampsia – which causes high blood pressure
  • jaundice in the baby – which may require treatment in the hospital

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How is gestational diabetes treated?

Doctors are on hand to offer support and advice for patients with gestational diabetes.

They also monitor women throughout their pregnancies in case any issues arise.

Often, those affected are given blood sugar testing kits to monitor the condition.

Women are also advised to follow a healthy diet and exercise regime to reduce their risks.

In some cases, tablets or insulin injections are used to alleviate symptoms.

  • NHS
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Family

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