Do you know? Women who never had diabetes before can develop high blood glucose levels during their pregnancy period or may be diagnosed as having gestational diabetes.

As alarming as it is, It usually occurs when the blood sugar level of the mother stays high due to hyperglycemia as she is not able to produce the sufficient insulin needed to support the demands of the pregnancy. As per some research, around 18% of women may suffer from gestational diabetes during their pregnancy but only 7 % of those pregnancies will face issues that are highly complicated.

If a mother develops an elevated glucose level or glucose intolerance during the time of pregnancy then it may raise concerns not only for the mother but also can cause problems for the baby, if it is not treated well. Fortunately, to identify and effectively manage gestational diabetes at an early stage, the doctors are vigilantly checking for it.

If you develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy then sticking to your treatment plan will not only help you in having a good pregnancy but will also protect the health of your baby. You’ll be surprised to know the developing gestational diabetes raises a 7 fold risk of having type 2 diabetes during pregnancy period.

What are the Main Causes of Gestational Diabetes?

Insufficiency in producing enough hormone insulin during pregnancy leads to the development of gestational diabetes into your body. Insulin is vital for transporting blood glucose into the cells. The body can build too much of glucose in the blood without enough insulin. This leads to a higher blood glucose level than normal which as a result turns into gestational diabetes.

Release of hormones form placenta during pregnancy causes the elevated blood glucose levels in gestational diabetes. The placenta produces a specific hormone named human chorionic somatomammotropin (HCS), also called human placental lactogen (HPL). This hormone helps the baby grow and it is similar to growth hormone. HPL actually modifies the metabolism of the mother and monitors how she processes the lipids and carbohydrates. These hormones actually make a woman’s body less sensitive to insulin ( for its ability to use it properly) and raise maternal blood glucose levels. Blood glucose levels rise is the body doesn't use insulin as it should. The hormone boosts up the blood sugar level in order to provide the nutrients required by the baby from the extra glucose present in the blood.

Due to the extra hormones produced by the placenta, it is normal for the mother’s blood glucose levels to rise up a bit during pregnancy. However, due to this sometimes the blood glucose level of women increases and remains high. This increases the risk of type 2 diabetes developing in the newborn.

Age, weight, race/ethnicity, family history, and prediabetes are several risk factors that make gestational diabetes in women likely to occur.

How to Test for Gestational Diabetes?

As a part of routine screening for gestational diabetes, your obstetrician or gynecologist should be the primary person to review your risk level and discuss any risk factors you might have. If he or she feels that you are at high risk of developing gestational diabetes then they will probably check your blood. Sometimes they can do this as soon as your pregnancy is confirmed.

Concerning the doctor for regular check up is highly recommended. However, you can also test for diabetes at home using diabetes testing kit for homes. Measuring your blood glucose levels for gestational diabetes will become something you should do on regular basis.

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How to Test For Diabetes At Home?

You can test for diabetes at home using a finger prick test. If you have discussed the ideal blood glucose levels for you during your pregnancy then you must have an idea about how to do this for testing gestational diabetes.

Below are the ideal target levels but your doctor should be the main guiding entity to tell you about your individual target level:
- Fasting: 5.3 mmol/Litre
- 1 hour after meals: 7.8 mmol/Litre
- 2 hour after meals: 6.4 mmol/Litre

You will be given a blood glucose monitor to test for your diabetes. This works well to measure your blood glucose levels at home or wherever you happen to be. To do this by checking a drop of your blood with the help of a lancet and diabetes test strip.

What is the Treatment for Gestational Diabetes?

Controlling your blood sugar is one of the key factors for the treatment of gestational diabetes. It is done so that your blood glucose level doesn’t go too high or stay high. Other secondary measures which you could take to treat gestational diabetes are:

  • Remaining physically active, by conducting an exercise
  • Eating wisely and monitoring your diet every time you take food.
  • Taking medication if needed (as prescribed by your doctor)

This can certainly help you in keeping your blood glucose level in the target range.

Monitoring your diabetes level with the help of diabetes test strips and blood glucose monitors can help you in determining how well you’re doing to control your blood sugar level. Your doctor or health care practitioner can explain in detail how to check for diabetes using a diabetes test kit at home with detailed instructions on when and how often to check your blood sugar. Keeping a track of your glucose level on a daily basis will help both you and your doctor to know well you are managing.