What is Gestational Diabetes?

Regular diabetes is caused by either:
(1) the pancreas not producing enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes)
(2) the body not responding to the insulin (Type 2 diabetes).

Without enough good, working insulin in your body, you end up with too much glucose in the blood and not enough in your cells.Insulin helps the cells take in glucose produced from the foods you eat, which, in turn, supplies the energy for your body. Gestational diabetes happens only during pregnancy, usually around the 24th week. It somewhat is like Type 2 diabetes when your pancreas makes insulin, but the insulin doesn’t work as it should. This is because during this time in your pregnancy, your placenta begins making large amounts of hormones. Some of these hormones may stop the insulin from helping the cells absorb glucose from the blood. At the same time, your pancreas can’t keep up with the extra demand for insulin. Without enough good, working insulin in your body, you end up with too much glucose in the blood and not enough in your cells. If your cells can’t get enough glucose, your body won’t have enough energy to work and play. Also, the extra glucose in your blood can be dangerous. This condition, called hyperglycemia, is how diabetes is diagnosed.

As more and more sugar builds up in your blood, it spills over into your urine. So sugar in your urine is another sign of diabetes. Too much sugar in your urine pulls water from your body, causing you to feel thirsty. Even though you drink plenty of water, you still feel thirsty. Drinking a lot of water also causes you to go to the bathroom often. Feeling thirsty all of the time and going to the bathroom a lot are both signs of diabetes. Other signs include blurry vision and feeling tired.

A Dangerous Side Effect of Diabetes – When your body doesn’t have enough glucose for energy, it uses fat instead. Using fat for energy produces ketones, which are acids. Ketones can also build up in your body and spill into your urine. Ketones can act like a poison in your body and make you very sick. They can make you throw up, feel very sleepy, or feel like you can’t breathe. Part of managing your diabetes will be to check your urine for ketones. More about ketoacidosis later.


More about Gestational Diabetes

What is Gestational Diabetes?
How Do I Know If I Have Gestational Diabetes?
Will My Baby Be Alright?
Will I Be Alright?
Managing Your Diabetes
Tests To Check Your Baby’s Health
Labor and Delivery
Can I Get Diabetes Again?

Side view of pregnant woman
Hormones during pregnancy block insulin from absorbing glucose (sugar) in your cells. This results in too much sugar in your blood.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

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