Pregnant Women Need to Test Early for Gestational Diabetes

Diabetes PregnancyIt can be one of the most exciting moments in a woman’s life to find out that she is expecting, especially for the first time. They immediately begin thinking of shopping for baby clothes, warm and snuggly infants and adoring eyes looking into their own. But what about the health side of pregnancy? The health of both mother and baby are very important during this time and it’s important for expectant mothers to think of this. Eating right, exercising and receiving a number of tests are some of the things to consider. All pregnant women should be tested for gestational diabetes and they should be tested early on in their pregnancies.

Being tested for gestational diabetes is very important because it can save the mother to be and the baby from experiencing health issues while the mother is still carrying as well as after giving birth. Gestational diabetes is becoming an increasing issue and needs to be addressed as early on in the pregnancy as possible. If a woman’s doctor doesn’t suggest the test then she should ask for one. No expectant mother should settle for inconclusive results. Testing should continue until a positive or negative result is given and it shouldn’t stop there. For woman who test positive it is important to be tested again after giving birth. A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that gestational diabetes turns in to Type 2 diabetes in more than half of pregnant women.

Untreated gestational diabetes can affect babies from the time they are nestled in the womb into their journey to adulthood. During pregnancy, high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia can occur. Newborns may be born with low blood sugar, have trouble breathing or have Jaundice. In some cases the opposite is true and babies are born weighing nine pounds and over. Babies this large often need to be delivered through a cesarean section. Once the baby is born and heads into its toddler and childhood years, the risk of being obese goes up as does the chances of the child developing diabetes.

For pregnant women under the age of 25 who have no prior risk factors, testing is done between 24 and 28 weeks of the pregnancy. Women age 25 and above are tested earlier as are women of all ages who are obese, have diabetes in their family, are pre-diabetic, have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy or have had a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth. Also, woman who have a parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes, have gone through an unexplained miscarriage, or are African-American, Hispanic, American-Indian or Asian are tested early on as well.

An oral glucose test or a blood screening test is given as a means of detection. During pregnancy, a woman’s body produces some hormones that interfere with insulin production. Insulin is vital for carrying glucose to cells from the bloodstream which is then turned into energy. As pregnancy moves further along more insulin production interfering hormones are produced which make the pancreas produce more insulin, in some woman the pancreas does not produce extra insulin resulting in higher blood sugar levels leading to gestational diabetes.

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