There are four types of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is divided into two categories:
- Diabetes type 1 – the body produces too little insulin or none at all. This type of diabetes occurs when a person is young and can be managed by injecting insulin. Eating appropriate foods and exercising regularly help maintain the level of glucose in the blood.
- Diabetes type 2 – the body produces insulin, but it does not respond to the insulin that is produced and stores it in the bloodstream instead. This type of diabetes occurs when a person is older. The risk factors for this type of diabetes are obesity and a family history of diabetes. It can be managed by losing weight, eating appropriate foods, and exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight. It may sometimes be necessary to take insulin orally or through injections.
- Other types of diabetes caused by various factors, such as genetic abnormality of the pancreas, the adverse effects of insulin, thyroid conditions, medications, chemicals, or infections. Women with diabetes should undergo regular health check-ups and control the levels of sugar in their blood.
- Gestational diabetes - Gestational diabetes is a health complication that is most often discovered during pregnancy as the body undergoes hormonal changes that leads to insulin resistance. This causes gestational diabetes, particularly among Asians.
High Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
- Diabetes that is discovered before pregnancy, which refers to a woman who has diabetes before she becomes pregnant or the level of glucose in the blood after fasting is higher than 25 milligrams per deciliter, combined with other symptoms of diabetes. Treatment includes controlling food, exercising and possibly injecting insulin if the blood sugar level cannot be controlled.
- Diabetes that is discovered during pregnancy, which refers to a woman who did not have diabetes before she became pregnant or blood sugar levels were normal when tested before pregnancy, but the condition is found during pregnancy. If the blood sugar level is not too high, the diabetes often resolves on its own after childbirth.
- Obesity, with body mass index (BMI) higher or equal to 30
- Immediate family with type 2 diabetes
- History of gestational diabetes (in previous pregnancy)
- Sugar is detected in the urine
Women with high risk factors should be tested for blood sugar levels at the beginning of their pregnancies and again during weeks 24-28 of their pregnancies.
Moderate Risk Factors for Diabetes
- Age over 25 years
- Overweight before pregnancy
- Large fetus
- Problems with previous pregnancy, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, or toxemia
- Previous baby’s birth weight was over 4,500 grams
Women with moderate risk factors should be tested for glucose levels during weeks 24-28 of their pregnancies.
Glucose Tolerance Testing
A patient drinks 50 grams of glucose and blood sugar levels are then measured one hour afterwards. If the level is higher than 140 milligrams per deciliter, there is a tendency of developing gestational diabetes, which will then be further explored by drinking 100 grams of glucose.
Effects on Pregnancy
Effects on the Mother
Diabetes may cause blood sugar levels to be too high or too low, high blood pressure, and deterioration of the nerve endings of the kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels. It can also make a pregnant woman prone to infections, cause an abnormally high amount of amniotic fluid, and increases the chances of a Cesarean delivery.
Effects on the Fetus
Diabetes is a risk factor for miscarriage, stillbirth, and congenital defects. The baby may have a high birth weight, resulting in a difficult birth, including shoulder dystocia. Furthermore, after birth the baby may have low blood sugar or jaundice.
Both types of diabetes can be controlled during pregnancy by maintaining blood sugar levels to be as close to normal as possible. Methods for controlling blood sugar include eating the right foods and exercising regularly. If the sugar levels cannot be controlled through these methods alone, it is necessary to use insulin. Whether you have diabetes before becoming pregnant or develop it during pregnancy, you should always come to all your doctor’s appointments.