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Gestational Diabetes - 5 myths and facts related to the issue

Both healthcare professionals and pregnant women alike need to dispel misconceptions and stay informed about the realities associated with gestational diabetes throughout pregnancy and beyond.

Kristina Das Written By: Kristina Das @ New Delhi Published on: November 06, 2023 14:06 IST
gestational diabetes
Image Source : FREEPIK 5 myths and facts related to gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. While the exact causes of gestational diabetes are still unknown, hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to insulin resistance. This means that the body does not use insulin effectively to regulate blood sugar levels, resulting in higher-than-normal levels. One of the primary risk factors for gestational diabetes is obesity or being overweight before becoming pregnant. Excess weight can increase the likelihood of developing this condition as it puts extra strain on insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Additionally, women with a family history of type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes. Other factors such as age over 25, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and a previous history of gestational diabetes can also contribute to developing this condition. The symptoms of gestational diabetes are increased thirst and urination, recurrent infections such as urinary tract infections or yeast infections, fatigue, and blurred vision can all indicate high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. However, it's important to note that many women experience no noticeable symptoms at all. As a result, routine screening for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks into pregnancy is essential to ensure early detection and prompt management if necessary. Also, there are many myths related to this issue.

Dr Madhuri Burande Laha, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, dispels misconceptions surrounding gestational diabetes.

Myth #1: Only overweight women can develop gestational diabetes

Fact: Gestational diabetes can occur in women of all body sizes. While being overweight or obese does increase the risk, even women with a healthy BMI can be diagnosed with this condition. Research has shown that genetics and hormonal factors also play a significant role in the development of gestational diabetes. So, whether you're slim or overweight, it's important to be aware of the potential risks and take necessary precautions during pregnancy.

Myth #2: Gestational diabetes will go away after giving birth

Fact: Although most cases of gestational diabetes indeed resolve themselves after delivery, this is not always the case. Women who develop this condition are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Moreover, their children have a higher likelihood of being obese and developing type 2 diabetes as well. Therefore, it is crucial for new mothers who have gestational diabetes to maintain healthy lifestyle habits post-pregnancy and get regular check-ups to ensure their long-term health as well as that of their children.

Myth#3: Eating sweets and sugar is the primary cause of Gestational Diabetes

Fact: The likelihood of developing gestational diabetes increases if you were overweight before pregnancy, experienced rapid weight gain during pregnancy, or are over  25. These factors elevate your risk for gestational diabetes.

Myth #4: Women diagnosed with diabetes may present potential risks to their babies

Fact: If women effectively regulate their blood sugar levels, there is no discrepancy in the pregnancy survival rate between women with and without diabetes. The primary focus in managing gestational diabetes lies in achieving optimal control of blood sugar throughout the entirety of the pregnancy. Insufficient control of sugar levels can have adverse consequences for both mother and child.

Myth #5 Gestational diabetes is not so serious and doesn’t lead to any problems in later life

Fact:  Gestational diabetes is one of the most important causes of sudden intrauterine foetal deaths so very important to prevent it and if happens then treat it at the earliest. The second point is that most of the time gestational diabetes gets better after delivery sometimes it stays back or comes back in the next pregnancy or increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes before the age of 40. All know diabetes in any age group can affect lives badly so it is so important to prevent or cure at the earliest. Hence, it is imperative to ensure proper treatment and care to closely monitor and manage blood sugar levels throughout pregnancy.

Myth #6: After gestational diabetes diagnosis, a pregnant woman may require insulin

Fact: Although some women can successfully manage their blood sugar levels through diet and exercise alone while being monitored by the doctor. If blood sugar levels persistently remain elevated, the doctor may opt for insulin therapy.

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