Diabetes And Pregnancy

Written by Beth Hrusch
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The diabetes and pregnancy connection is an issue on which all women should be informed, whether they are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. Diabetes is a disease that affects over 43 million Americans, and hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It takes different forms and manifests itself in different ways. Often there are no symptoms, which makes the progression of the disease even more insidious.

The Facts About Diabetes and Pregnancy

Diabetes that develops during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. Why does diabetes sometimes occur during pregnancy? It is believed that, in some women, hormonal changes in the mother's body trigger a change in the way that the body reacts to its own insulin. The cells start becoming insensitive to insulin, and therefore stop absorbing it. Since insulin is key to the metabolizing of glucose, this affects glucose levels. Glucose starts to accumulate in the body because the cells can no longer use it for energy.

This leads to a rise in blood sugar that can damage major organs, particularly the kidneys and liver. Other complications include blindness and circulatory problems. In gestational diabetes, the risks are compounded by the fact that many medications that would normally be prescribed to control the disease cannot be given to a pregnant mother. The risk to the baby is too great. The good news for women facing diabetes and pregnancy is that this disease almost always disappears after birth, when hormonal levels return to normal.

Something to keep in mind, however, is that women who experience diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to develop the disease later in life. The reasons for this are not completely clear, but gestational diabetes is one of the risk factors, along with such conditions as obesity and family history. Women should be aware of the risks to themselves and their babies, and get tested for diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

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