November is National Diabetes Month. How much do you know about this common condition?
When diabetes is mentioned, most people think about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. But for expecting moms, it is also important to be in the know about gestational diabetes, which occurs in approximately 10% of pregnancies each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What is gestational diabetes?
It's pretty simple--gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Diabetes is diagnosed when a person's blood sugar, or blood glucose, is too high.
Elevated blood sugar can lead to symptoms that affect every part of the body, from the feet to the eyes. It can also the risk of serious health complications, particularly during pregnancy.
What are the warning signs of diabetes?
If you're experiencing gestational diabetes, you may experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
* Unusual thirst * Frequent urination * Fatigue * Nausea * Frequent vaginal, bladder and skin infections * Blurred vision
If you experience any of these symptoms, particularly during pregnancy, it's important to talk with your doctor. A glucose screening is a normal part of prenatal care, but if you have symptoms, your doctor may want to screen you earlier.
Can I prevent gestational diabetes?
In many cases, yes. Just as with Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes appears to be influenced by lifestyle choices. So living a healthy lifestyle during your pregnancy can help limit your risk.
Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep. Steering clear of added sugars and saturated fat can also be helpful.
Does gestational diabetes lead to diabetes after pregnancy?
While gestational diabetes usually goes away once the baby is born, it can mean you are at an increased risk of diabetes in the future. Therefore, speak to your physician about how you can change your lifestyle in order to lower your risk of diabetes after pregnancy.
Are you expecting a new bundle of joy? Be sure to stop by Parkridge East Hospital to learn about The Birthing Center.