Along with the joy of conceiving a baby, pregnancy brings about certain health issues for the expecting mother. One of the most commonly diagnosed medical problems during pregnancy is gestational diabetes. As the name indicates, it refers to high blood glucose levels or hyperglycaemia in pregnant women. Too much glucose causes negative effects on the growing foetus and the mother. This is where monitoring the sugar levels becomes mandatory for pregnant women who are diagnosed with diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes Test
A Glucose Challenge Test (GCT), also known as glucose screening test, is a part of the pregnancy related procedures for women, who do not have underlying diabetes condition. Conducted anywhere between the 24 and 28 weeks of conception, it is a regular testing routine to determine the risk of diabetes. Thus, a positive test result does not mean that the pregnant woman is diabetic. For confirmation, the doctor asks the candidate to come for the test. Further, oral Glucose Tolerance Tests (GTT) is done to check blood sugar levels and identify diabetes.
Blood Sugar Levels
Pregnant women, who have been already diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should seek medical attention, while planning for conception. Doing so will help in effective controlling of the blood sugar levels, and minimising the probable health effects during pregnancy. For others, going through the GCT and if required GTT at the recommended time is crucial for early diagnosis.
If a pregnant woman is diagnosed with this condition, it means that her blood sugar reading measured before meal falls within the range of 140 mg/dL and 200 mg/dL (milligram of glucose concentration per decilitre of blood plasma). According to health experts, a woman with a blood glucose level of 130 mg/dL is quite likely to have diabetes. The disease is confirmed, if the fasting blood glucose level is 95 mg/dL or higher.
When it comes to glucose tolerance test results, glucose concentration is measured at regular intervals after drinking a sugary beverage. The gestational diabetes blood sugar levels are 180 mg/dL or higher at 1 hour, 155 mg/dL or higher at 2 hours, and 140 mg/dL or higher at 3 hours. In case of an expecting woman with elevated sugar levels, the concerned doctor will give a handout regarding the diet, changes in eating habits, pregnancy exercises, and other healthy steps for effective diabetes treatment.
Researchers have been conducted to find out the causes of this pregnancy related hyperglycaemia. Hormonal changes and weight gain are indirectly responsible for causing elevated levels of glucose in pregnant women. The symptoms are no different from the typical diabetes symptoms. Health indications like weakness, nauseated feeling, frequent urination, extreme thirst, and increased appetite are manifested by pregnant women having diabetic condition.
If the sugar levels are too high, about 200 mg/dL before meals, then it can cause medical complications. For the mother, health risks include high blood pressure during pregnancy, problems in normal delivery, and increased chances of type 2 diabetes. Speaking about probable effects to the baby, they include bigger head at birth, baby being overweight, hypoglycaemia at birth and increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future. So, it always pays to monitor these blood glucose levels if you’re pregnant.
If you experience very high sugar levels in the morning, you should alter the type and amount of insulin that you take in the evening. However, let your doctor determine how the insulin in your body acts during the night hours, and based on that he can suggest the suitable insulin alterations for you. This will help to control the drastic sugar level fluctuations experienced in the morning.
Considering the health complications of very high blood glucose levels during pregnancy, it is imperative for every expecting mother to be very careful about their health, diet plan, and lifestyle in the crucial stages.