Gestational diabetes is a unique type of diabetes that occurs only when you’re pregnant. For many women, gestational diabetes resolves itself shortly after giving birth — that is, until it’s time for the next bundle of joy.
Nearly 50% of women who’ve had gestational diabetes will deal with it again in their future pregnancies.
Gestational diabetes opens the door to a variety of complications for you and your baby, so we take it seriously. Our team at Optimal Performance Medicine, led by diabetes specialist Dr. Michael Skardasis works closely with you and your obstetrician to provide comprehensive care during and after your pregnancy.
How did I get gestational diabetes in the first place?
Diabetes is a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it uses insulin improperly. Insulin is a hormone your pancreas releases into your bloodstream to regulate the amount of sugar in your blood, acting as a key to allow sugar in your cells to be used as energy.
When you’re pregnant, the hormonal shifts and gradual weight gain you experience affect how your cells use insulin, leading to insulin resistance. In addition to having had gestational diabetes in the past, other risk factors increase your risk, including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Not being physically active
- Having prediabetes
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Having previously delivered a large baby
Because gestational diabetes isn’t a problem until later on in your pregnancy, your obstetrician usually checks for it around week 24-28.
A few complications we can link directly to gestational diabetes that affect both you and your baby are:
- Excessive birth weight
- Preterm birth
- Breathing difficulties at birth
- Low blood sugar at birth
- Higher risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes later in life
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
Gestational diabetes can also complicate your birth plan and make you more likely to need a C-section.
Where do I go from here?
Whether you’re currently facing gestational diabetes, you’re concerned about your future risk, or you’re simply gathering information, you’ve come to the right place. The diagnosis can be frightening, but there are ways to get it under control and avoid complications.
The first step is understanding your risk. Talk to both your obstetrician and Dr. Skardasis about your history of gestational diabetes, and we can help you understand what to expect. From there, we create a customized diabetes management plan that keeps you and your baby safe and healthy.
At Optimal Performance Medicine, we pride ourselves on getting folks off diabetes medication, so your plan typically includes nutrition counseling, exercise guidance, and frequent blood sugar monitoring. We’re with you for the duration of your pregnancy, carefully observing your progress and making adjustments to your plan as necessary.
The bottom line
A past diagnosis of gestational diabetes does put you at risk for recurrence in your following pregnancies, but there’s hope when you team up with a diabetes specialist like Dr. Skardasis. We know what it takes to get diabetes of any kind under control and can support both you and your growing baby with our comprehensive management plans.
Do you have more questions about gestational diabetes? We’d love to talk with you. Call or click to schedule a consultation at our Woodstock, Georgia, office today.