Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when hormonal changes accompanying pregnancy increase the body's resistance to insulin. Women who are overweight and older are more prone to getting gestational diabetes when they are pregnant.
Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed around the twenty-fourth to twenty-eighth week of pregnancy. This type of diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce the extra insulin needed for the last part of pregnancy.
When a pregnant woman gets gestational diabetes during her pregnancy, she needs to undergo treatment that usually begins with a diabetic food plan and constant monitoring of blood glucose levels at all time. The mother's blood glucose level should stay within the approved guideline, i.e. plasma values below 105 mg/dl for fasting and below 155 mg/dl for one-hour-after-meal. This is to ensure that both the mother and child are safe.
Besides a diabetic food plan to follow, pregnant woman with gestational diabetes are also encouraged to do some gentle exercises regularly. This will help to lower the blood glucose level too.
Although gestational diabetes usually disappears after pregnancy, women who have had this condition during her pregnancy are more prone to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. About half of these women will develop type 2 diabetes within 15 to 20 years after the pregnancy. Because of this, women who had had gestational diabetes during their pregnancy are strongly encouraged to maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
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