Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is a type of glucose intolerance that is developed by most women during pregnancy. Learning about what Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is can help mothers be prepared in managing this condition and aid in avoiding the risks associated to it.
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Defined
Gestational diabetes mellitus is a form of endocrine disorder developed by mothers during pregnancy. This is caused by the increase in the levels of blood sugar known as glucose at the time of actual pregnancy. In the United States alone, 4% of women who are pregnant are diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus every year which is about 135,000 pregnant women. This type of diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy related problems in the US today with about 2 to 7 percent of pregnant women suffering from such medical condition
Causes of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
When the body can no longer produce enough insulin which is needed during pregnancy diabetes develops. Insulin which is produced by the pancreas plays a vital function in the conversion of glucose to energy. When there is lack or insufficiency of insulin, glucose can no longer be turned into energy hence it remains in the blood. This results to impaired glucose absorption which leads to the increases of glucose levels in the body. Such a condition is known as hyperglycemia.
During digestion, the body breaks down the food consumed turning them into a form of sugar known as glucose. As glucose enters the bloodstream, insulin helps in the process by converting it to energy to be used by the cells as its fuel. In diabetes, the glucose remains in the blood because there is a lack or insufficient production of insulin in the pancreas. There are however two types of diabetes mellitus – type 1 (absence of insulin production) and type 2 (insufficient production of insulin).
Gestational diabetes mellitus occurs when a pregnant woman’s body can no longer produce insulin or it only produces an amount insufficient to convert glucose to energy. There are hormonal changes during pregnancy and it is natural for a pregnant woman’s body to produce more insulin as glucose absorption becomes difficult. For some women their pancreas can no longer keep up with their body’s insulin demand resulting to an increase in the glucose levels in the blood.
In most cases gestational diabetes mellitus spontaneously resolves after delivery. This means that after delivery the body will produce sufficient amounts of insulin hence she will no longer be diabetic. But in most cases this type of diabetes reoccurs in future pregnancies.
Post-Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Although a woman may no longer suffer from gestational diabetes mellitus after she has given birth, such a condition may occur again if she gets pregnant in the future. Study shows that out of the 3 pregnancies of a woman 2 of which she may again develop gestational diabetes mellitus. A pregnant woman may either have and develop type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In such cases continuous treatment after delivery should be observed.
There is a common connection between type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus as they both involve insulin resistance. Research reveals that there is a greater possibility that those women who had gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies may later develop type 2 diabetes. To avoid such situation, a woman should try adopting a much healthier way of living.
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