Gestational diabetes: cause, symptoms, treatment

1 in 50 women will develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. It is more common in women over thirty years of age. If there is diabetes mellitus in the family, the risk of gestational diabetes increases. What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes, how is it treated and what is the prognosis? Does gestational diabetes always disappear immediately after birth?

Article content

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Causes of gestational diabetes
  • Symptoms of gestational diabetes
  • Diagnosis of gestational diabetes
  • Treatment of gestational diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes prognosis

Gestational diabetes

The hormone insulin, which is made by the pancreas, ensures that body cells can remove glucose from the blood. When a woman is pregnant, the placenta produces hormones that counteract the function of insulin. Excessive glucose levels can occur if the body does not produce enough insulin and this can lead to gestational diabetes.

Causes of gestational diabetes

  • See under the heading Gestational diabetes.
  • The risk of gestational diabetes increases with age.
  • Excessive body weight increases the risk of gestational diabetes, as does having a family member with diabetes mellitus.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes

Many women with gestational diabetes do not notice it. Gestational diabetes may be suspected if the baby is too large for its gestational age. A lot of amniotic fluid can also be a signal.

Diagnosis of gestational diabetes

The diagnosis is made on the demonstration of an increased level of sugar in the blood (fasting or after eating). Not every woman is screened. It seems sensible to investigate pregnant women who have a higher risk. So if there is diabetes in the family, too high body weight, a large child during a previous birth.

Treatment of gestational diabetes

  • If you have gestational diabetes, the gynecologist will refer you to the dietician. This will prescribe an adapted diet. If this diet does not help enough, the doctor may use insulin injections. Checks will have to be carried out, such as ultrasound examinations to see whether the baby is growing properly.
  • Women with gestational diabetes usually get through pregnancy without many problems and can give birth naturally. If necessary, the gynecologist can recommend inducing labor. During delivery, diabetes is controlled as best as possible (with short-acting insulin, often checking blood sugars) and the child is monitored using cardiotocography.
  • After delivery, the child’s blood sugars are checked. If the values are too low, the newborn is admitted to the neonatology department.

Gestational diabetes prognosis

  • If gestational diabetes is not recognized and therefore not treated, there is a chance that the child will become very large. This can cause difficulties during delivery. A child born to a mother with gestational diabetes is more likely to have low blood sugars. In principle, a woman with gestational diabetes no longer has a stillbirth.
  • The mother’s glucose level usually returns to normal after delivery. If you become pregnant again, there is a good chance that you will get gestational diabetes again. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus later.