Ask Sofia: Why Do I Have to Be Tested for Gestational Diabetes?
I’m healthy and don’t have any history of diabetes in my family, so why am I being tested for gestational diabetes? Characterized by high blood sugar or glucose levels and generally developing between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, gestational diabetes is different from a type 1 or type 2 diabetes diagnosis before or after your pregnancy. It occurs in about five percent of all pregnancies and is caused by increased levels of hormones in the placenta that lead to higher blood sugar levels. If your pancreas is unable to secrete the additional insulin your body needs during pregnancy, blood glucose levels can rise and result in gestational diabetes. Knowing whether you have gestational diabetes, which typically has no symptoms, can help you maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Fortunately, gestational diabetes can be controlled through diet, exercise and medication, if needed. In most cases, blood sugar levels return to normal after you deliver your baby, but gestational diabetes does increase your risk for type 2 diabetes later on and you’re more likely to have gestational diabetes with future pregnancies. You may want to talk to your doctor about the best strategies for managing your blood sugar in both the short and long term to ensure that you’re taking great care of yourself and your baby.