Pregnant women should have a gestational diabetes test performed, even if they have only occasionally high numbers. It is an important part of prenatal care, and should be given to every woman who is expecting a baby. Type 2 diabetes is different than gestational diabetes because it is a chronic condition and can be treated at an early stage. It can also lead to complications like congenital heart defects.
Low blood sugar targets for gestational diabetes
The NICE guidelines for gestational diabetes with occasional high numbers recommend that you aim for a blood glucose level of 7.8mmol/l one hour after eating. Having a high number is not beneficial for gestational diabetes management, and your doctor should advise you on how to achieve your target. High numbers are detrimental and can lead to complications. The best way to manage gestational diabetes is to stay within the guidelines, which are based on evidence-based research.
The A1C test is another alternative to screen for gestational diabetes. If your A1c is 5.7% or higher, you have gestational diabetes. Even a slightly elevated number can cause adverse fetal programming. However, it’s a good idea to have the blood sugar checked anyway, and in the event of high numbers, request that your doctor test it. Your doctor will then advise you on how to maintain your blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
If your blood sugar levels are consistently elevated even during the pregnancy, you may be suffering from gestational diabetes. These elevated numbers can lead to several serious complications, including an increased risk of birth defects. While this condition rarely manifests without warning, it is still important to get checked out as soon as possible. The symptoms of gestational diabetes can be easily treated by lifestyle changes, medication, or insulin.
Screening for gestational diabetes is a routine process that begins between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. The doctor will usually give the woman a glucose-based beverage to drink. One hour after drinking the fluid, blood glucose will be checked. If two of the three glucose tests are high, it is likely that gestational diabetes is the cause. Once diagnosed, the mother will need to begin taking insulin and adjust her diet.
Fortunately, most women with gestational diabetes can complete their pregnancy without any treatment. However, they do have a small chance of developing pre-eclampsia, a condition associated with protein in urine and the potential for early delivery. If a woman is diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, she may have to undergo an amniocentesis to check the health of her unborn child.
Pregnant women with diabetes are advised to give birth in a hospital, so that their baby will be cared for by specially trained health professionals. If a pregnancy is complicated by gestational diabetes, women are advised to bring a blood sugar testing kit and insulin injections with them. If blood sugar levels are not stable, the doctor may prescribe medicine such as metformin tablets or insulin injections. The mother may need to take the medicine later in the pregnancy, but she can stop it after giving birth.
Congenital heart defects associated with gestational diabetes
Pregnancy may increase the chances of developing congenital heart defects. The condition affects any part of the heart, but it is particularly prevalent in children with Down syndrome. While some congenital heart defects are inherited, others aren’t. Some can be detected in utero by genetic testing. Your health care provider will do a physical exam, listen to your heart with a stethoscope, and ask you questions about your medical history.
The CDC funds the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program, as well as state-based tracking systems. The CDC also funds projects that track the incidence of CHD across the lifespan. CH STRONG is an acronym for Congenital Heart Survey to Recognize Needs and Outcomes, which collects data on birth defects across the lifespan. These programs can identify trends in the incidence and prevalence of these conditions and help pregnant women make better decisions regarding their pregnancy.