Gestational diabetes is a relatively rare disorder that affects about 3 or 4 out of every 100 patients that are pregnant. This condition is actually the body’s over-zealous response to the baby needing to grow for the last few months of a pregnancy. In order to accomplish that growth, the placenta leaks something into Mom’s circulation that elevates her sugar level 10 or 20 points. In most healthy, young, slender patients, those 10 to 20 points are meaningless. However, if the patient is heavy, has a family history of diabetes, twins or triplets, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, sometimes these 10 to 20 points could make them diabetic.
A significant majority of the time, gestational diabetes is controlled by limiting calorie intake. At MFM, our nutritionists can help women create a plan that will work for them. By following the right diet, at least 75% to 90% of our patients will control their condition. The goal is to deceive the baby into not knowing you have diabetes by limiting the amount of sugar that’s going across the placenta.
In cases where a woman is unable to limit that excess sugar crosses the placenta, the baby receives a little bit too much sugar, makes a little bit too much insulin, and sometimes gets dangerously large. In addition to that, babies that have a lot of excess insulin when they are delivered have very low blood sugar as a result.
Mothers who are on a controlled diet who still have elevated sugar values are put on a medication. Most of our patients who need medication are started on an injectable insulin. Their progress is reviewed by Dr. Mariam Naqvi, who manages our gestational diabetics.
If you are interested in learning more about gestational diabetes, or believe you may have gestational diabetes, contact our office today at (212) 235-1335 to schedule an appointment.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!