It is seen that diabetes during pregnancy is present in about 4% of all pregnancies, which is known as gestational diabetes. The most common of the gestational diabetes causes is hormonal in nature.
The scientific name of gestational diabetes is Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, the acronym of which is GDM. As the name suggests, this is a condition which affects women during pregnancy. It is important to note that the women who suffer from gestational diabetes, do not show any signs of diabetes prior to their pregnancy. It is detected for the first time during pregnancy. The increased levels of blood glucose are often seen during the last trimester of pregnancy.
In most cases, after delivery, the condition is cured on its own, while in some cases the woman may have to deal with type II diabetes after the delivery. Often it is the hormones, which is among the prime gestational diabetes causes. There are many hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Some of the changes can result in the woman becoming intolerant to glucose during pregnancy.
Causes of Gestational Diabetes
There are two reasons, due to which a woman may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. In some cases, insulin may not be released into the body, at regular intervals. While in others, the women may display resistance to insulin. However, in some cases, both the symptoms may be seen.
During pregnancy, there are a number of hormonal changes, that come about. These hormones inhibit the work of insulin, which leads to gestational diabetes. During pregnancy the need for insulin increases, however, due to the counter action of hormones, the body finds it difficult to prevent the blood glucose levels from rising, which in turn leads to gestational diabetes.
There are certain hormones in the body during pregnancy, which transport nutrients from the mother to the fetus. At the same time, there are certain hormones manufactured, which ensure that the mother does not develop low blood sugar. This in turn results in increased high blood sugar levels due to the unresponsiveness of the insulin.
Drop in Insulin Levels
In some cases, it is seen that the pancreas are not able to make sufficient quantities of insulin. Due to a lowered quantity of insulin in the blood stream, the levels of blood sugar increase, which causes gestational diabetes.
Family Diabetes History
It is seen that women who have a family history of diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. Therefore, it is best to let the gynecologist and obstetrician know if any one of the family members did suffer from or does suffer from diabetes. The close family members include the mother, sister, grandmother, brother, father, etc.
Women who are overweight at the start of pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes. At the same time, if there is rapid increase in weight during pregnancy, it should be brought to the notice of the gynecologist and obstetrician.
Late pregnancies are at an increased risk of developing into cases of gestational diabetes. It is seen that women above the age of 30 are more prone to gestational diabetes, as compared to younger women. It can be attributed to the fact that chances of increasing diabetes increases with age.
Birth Weight of Previous Child more than 9 Pounds
Women who have given birth to a baby or babies, who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth, are at an increased risk of gestational diabetes during their subsequent pregnancies. This is another fact, which should be brought to the notice of the gynecologist and obstetrician, so that necessary measures can be taken at the start of pregnancy itself.
Gestational Diabetes during Previous Pregnancy
If during the previous pregnancy, the woman did suffer from diabetes, there are chances that she may suffer from diabetes during the subsequent pregnancy. Hence, it is best to be on the watch for signs of gestational diabetes. It is advisable to take measures to ensure history is not repeated during the subsequent pregnancy.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome is among the causes of diabetes during pregnancy. Hence, women with a history of PCOS should take care during the pregnancy.
There are certain ethnic groups, which are more prone to gestational diabetes than others. Women who come from or originate from certain parts of South Asia, Middle East, Caribbean, etc. are prone to gestational diabetes, as compared to women of other ethnic groups.
These were some of the common causes of diabetes during pregnancy. In most cases, a gestational diabetes test is conducted to rule out the chances of diabetes during pregnancy. However, it is best to be on the lookout for symptoms of the condition. In case, it has been detected, it is important that a gestational diabetes diet is followed to avoid any complications arising out of the condition and also to protect the baby. It is best to have a gestational diabetes meal plan made by the health care professional and to stick to it, which will protect the baby and the mother during the months of pregnancy.