The term macrosomia means “large body” and refers to newborns with higher than normal weight at birth, usually 9 or more pounds. It occurs when the mother’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal during pregnancy. The condition, which is a preventable complication of gestational diabetes, can lead to trauma during birth and a greater chance of cesarean delivery.
Recent studies have shown that sleep deprivation exposed insulin sensitivity, even in people with normal blood glucose levels. The body’s response to sleep loss can resemble insulin resistance, a risk factor for developing full-blown diabetes. For people who already have diabetes, adequate sleep is as important as diet in regulating the metabolism.
Most people have heard of gestational diabetes but few of us know exactly what it is, who it afflicts, and what treatment is associated with it. Like most types of diabetes, most pregnant couples assume that it simply will not happen to them, but it happens and it could happen to you. Luckily, routine testing is done during pregnancy to determine if a woman has developed gestational diabetes so that both her and her developing baby can continue to be happy and healthy. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes can be very stressful, but with the right treatment and a positive approach to the condition it can be controlled really well and pose no imminent threat to either mother or child.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy and is basically a type of diabetes that can affect any woman during pregnancy. You do not have to have a family history of diabetes or even gestational diabetes to find that you do in fact have the condition. Gestational diabetes occurs when your body is not using the sugar that is in the blood as efficiently as it should. Because the body is not using the sugar well, the glucose or blood sugar levels in the pregnant woman quickly become higher than normal.
Gestational diabetes affects about four percent of all pregnant women and typically begins in the fifth or the sixth month of pregnancy, which would between the 24th and 28th week marks. Luckily, gestational diabetes comes on quickly and usually goes away after the birth of the baby. This makes gestational diabetes different from either type one or type two, because those two conditions do not go away after any period of time.
Gestational Diabetes Can Affect You and Your Baby
If your gestational diabetes is not controlled it can negatively impact the health of both you and your baby. A pregnant mother can fail to gain the weight needed to provide the health and nutrition to her developing baby and may even experience pre-term labor. Gestational diabetes often produces a very large baby, which means that you may have difficulty delivering vaginally and you may require a cesarean section. Your baby can be affected negatively as well and can suffer many problems at birth if your gestational diabetes is not controlled. Your baby may have low blood sugar at birth, may suffer from jaundice, and may be above average weight.
Treatment of Your Gestational Diabetes
Treatment of gestational diabetes is very important. If you follow the guidelines set forth by your doctor you will limit the problems experienced by both you and your child during and after the pregnancy. First, your doctor will probably prescribe a special diet for you. This diet will probably be quite low in carbohydrates so that you limit the amount of glucose that you are putting into your body. This will be a big change at first and you might not like it all that much, but remember that it is for the good of both you and your growing baby. Your diet won’t have to completely change but you may have to limit some of the foods you really love that contain a lot of simple sugars such as cakes, candies, muffins, and that sort of thing.
Your doctor may prescribe some medications. One medication that you may need to take is injections of insulin. This won’t be fun, but this is the most effective, and sometimes the only, way to control diabetes. Insulin injections will allow you to eat food without the glucose level becoming too high, which is what the problem is! You may also have to take oral medications to help the body process glucose and insulin in a more efficient manner. Your doctor will likely do blood tests to determine what type of medication or mixture of medications will suit your situation the best.
It will be important for you to exercise daily if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This can be difficult to do, especially toward the end of your pregnancy, but just taking walks around your neighborhood or getting on the treadmill at home will do the trick. You do not have to do anything strenuous you just have to help burn off some of the glucose that will naturally occur in your blood after you eat any meal with the smallest amount of glucose in it.
You will also be required to monitor your blood sugar levels several times a day and chart them. Your doctor will show you how to do this and it will help both you and your doctor determine what changes can be made in your care to help the continued well development of your child and your pregnancy. It is not uncommon to change the treatment in way of medication and diet several times throughout the pregnancy to get it just right.
Your doctor will likely do several blood tests throughout the remainder of your pregnancy to determine what your average glucose is. Again, this will help your doctor make changes to your care so that your baby can develop normally and your pregnancy can continue without complication. The blood tests will take just minutes and are an important part of the treatment of your gestational diabetes as they are a diagnostic tool for your doctor to see what is going on within your body.
After the delivery of your child your glucose will need to be checked for up to a month. This is to ensure that your body will begin to use the glucose as well as naturally produced insulin in a more efficient manner. Most women have a return to normal glucose levels in a matter of days. Many women go on to have pregnancies in the future in which they are not afflicted with gestational diabetes, but it is a good idea to be at an ideal weight and exercising regularly with each future pregnancy to limit the possibilities that you may develop gestational diabetes yet again.