Gestational diabetes: don't panic

Pregnancy puts a lot of stress on the mother, making her body less resilient. The risk of high blood glucose levels also increases. When a pregnant mother develops diabetes, she naturally worries about the impact on the baby. Will the baby's development in the womb be affected? In most cases, your doctor will be able to give your baby the all-clear.

13.02.2017

Gestational diabetes is common, even among non-diabetics. Increased blood glucose levels occur in 5 to 10% of all pregnancies, making gestational diabetes one of the most common complications of pregnancy.

Low risk for mother and child

Being pregnant and diabetic is no reason to worry. In most cases it is a relatively harmless form of type 2 diabetes that occurs during the second half of pregnancy. The risks of gestational diabetes are low and the causes known. Most notably, it is the various pregnancy hormones that cause blood glucose levels to rise. Another cause of diabetes during pregnancy is poor diet. Hand on heart, have you often had a craving for sweets since you became pregnant?

Risks for developing gestational diabetes are:

  • Being overweight (BMI between 25 and 30)
  • Diabetes in the family (parents or siblings)
  • Gestational diabetes in an earlier pregnancy
  • Age over 30
  • Repeated miscarriages
  • Previous birth with a birth weight of over 4,000 g
  • African, Asian or Latin American ethnicityt

Blood glucose measurements dispel doubts

Gestational diabetes does not cause symptoms. During the first examination your gynaecologist will measure your blood glucose values and repeat the measurement if required in a later phase of the pregnancy. Early detection is important so that you have time to adjust your lifestyle.

Healthy diet and exercise as an effective therapy

If you are pregnant and diabetic, the first thing to do is to change your diet. Eat a healthy, low-calorie diet and resist the temptation of sweet foods. The successful recipe for managing gestational diabetes is: less fat, more protein and generally higher-value carbohydrates. Get more exercise by running or swimming regularly, and take advantage of the opportunities daily life offers to do physical activities. Climb stairs more and walk more so that your body's cells respond better to the insulin produced by the pancreas. Insulin therapy and regular checks of your blood glucose level are necessary only if the blood glucose level remains permanently high despite a healthy diet and exercise.

Usually no long-term effects

Gestational diabetes is usually a temporary phenomenon. Blood glucose levels almost always normalise after the placenta has been pushed out. To be certain, it is advisable to have your blood glucose level measured around six weeks after delivery. After that, a yearly check is sufficient.

Further information

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