Gestational Diabetes Treatment in Chicago, IL
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes. It is a condition in which a hormone made by the placenta prevents the body from using insulin effectively. Glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells. Gestational diabetes can cause health problems in both the mother and baby so it is important to seek care during your pregnancy.
The highly trained obstetricians at Women First Specialists have extensive experience diagnosing and treating women throughout the Chicago area for gestational diabetes. Call (773) 792-0209 to request an appointment at our OBGYN office in Chicago, IL today.
How Common is Gestational Diabetes?
Approximately 3 to 8 percent of all pregnant women in the United States are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. In the United States, about 1-2 percent of pregnant women have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, gestational diabetes is different than type 1 and 2 diabetes, and is not caused by a lack of insulin.
What Causes Gestational Diabetes?
Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that allows blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy. During pregnancy, your body makes more hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain. These changes cause your body’s cells to use insulin less effectively and increases your body’s need for insulin.
All pregnant women have some insulin resistance during late pregnancy. However, some women have insulin resistance even before they get pregnant. They start pregnancy with an increased need for insulin and are more likely to have gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes may cause pre-term labor, issues with the growth of the fetus, or complications at birth. Your baby may be at higher risk of having low blood sugar or developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
How Do I Know if I have Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes can be difficult to diagnose. We recommend going to see your OBGYN for all prenatal care to ensure the health and safety of you and your baby during pregnancy.
Some symptoms of gestational diabetes may include:
- No real obvious symptoms
- Unusual thirst
- Increased urination
- Unusually tired
These symptoms can be neglected along with the many changes that occur during pregnancy, so it is best to seek prenatal care from your OBGYN.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed based on the results of an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). This test measures your body’s response to sugar (glucose).
- Fasting – You will be asked to come to the test fasting, not having had anything to eat or drink for the previous eight hours. Your OBGYN will get a blood sugar level after you have been fasting.
- Glucose Solution – You’ll drink about 8 ounces of a glucose solution containing 3.5 ounces of sugar.
- Testing – Your blood glucose level will be tested again one, two and three hours after you drink the solution.
Your OBGYN will explain the test and talk with you about your results. If you have a family history of gestational diabetes or may be at higher risk, talk with your OBGYN.
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, don’t worry. You can do a lot to manage your gestational diabetes. Go to all your prenatal appointments and follow your treatment plan, including:
- Check your blood sugar – Make sure your levels stay in a healthy range
- Eat healthy food in the right amounts at the right times – Follow a healthy eating plan created by your OBGYN or a dietitian
- Be active – Regular physical activity that’s moderately intense (such as brisk walking) lowers your blood sugar and makes you more sensitive to insulin so your body won’t need as much. Make sure to check with your OBGYN about what kind of physical activity you can do and if there are any kinds you should avoid.
- Monitor your baby – Your OBGYN will check your baby’s growth and development.
If healthy eating and being active aren’t enough to manage your blood sugar, your OBGYN may prescribe insulin, metformin, or other medication.
If you have gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, generally your blood sugar returns to normal soon after the baby is born. However, is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to help your body regulate your blood sugar, as you often have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.