At Melbourne Diabetes Education & Support we understand that being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be overwhelming. Our aim is to empower you to maintain good health during your pregnancy. Managing your diabetes will help you have a normal delivery and healthy baby.
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes it is important to make an appointment with us as soon as possible so we can ensure you are educated and fully supported during your pregnancy. An appointment will be made available to you within 1 week, as your health during pregnancy is a priority. We will provide you with blood glucose testing equipment and other educational resources on healthy eating and physical activity for further reference.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during a pregnancy and resolves after the baby is born. It occurs in 5-10% of pregnancies and is generally diagnosed between 24-28 weeks via a test called a glucose tolerance test. This test is now standard for all pregnant women. Some women are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes than others. These women may be tested for gestational diabetes earlier in the pregnancy. Women at higher risk include those:
- Over 30 years
- With family history of Type 2 Diabetes
- Who are overweight
- From Vietnamese, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Polynesian or Melanesian background
- From Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
- Who have had gestational diabetes in previous pregnancy
During pregnancy, the mother produces hormones which help the baby to grow and develop. These hormones block the action of the mother’s insulin, and as a result, the mother needs to produce more insulin than usual. If the mother is unable to produce the required insulin, her blood glucose levels remain elevated, leading to gestational diabetes.
Elevated blood glucose levels during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects or miscarriage. It can also lead to the baby gaining too much weight too quickly, before it has fully developed. However with careful monitoring and attention to diet and physical activity, the risk is significantly reduced.
Women with gestational diabetes are advised to test their blood glucose 4 times per day. There are no tablets that are safe for use during pregnancy, therefore if your blood glucose levels are not kept within certain levels, insulin injections may be required for the remainder of the pregnancy. The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes after the pregnancy increases to around 50% if diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It is important to continue applying healthy eating principles and regular physical activity after the birth of your baby to prevent this.
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