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What's gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes can be very serious if it's not treated correctly from the start. This kind of diabetes is not the same as Type I or II, because it typically only occurs during pregnancy and then tends to stop affecting the mother after giving birth. Around two to 10 percent of all expecting mothers end up suffering from gestational diabetes, which makes them prone to suffering from high blood sugar levels or moments of hypoglycemia when the blood sugar levels drop too low.

Gestational diabetes has some ill side effects including giving birth to a large baby over 9 pounds, having a stillborn child, or giving birth to a child with a birth defect. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy has been linked to a higher risk of gestational diabetes, which is something to consider for women who see themselves gaining weight rapidly or starting out heavier when they become pregnant.

Your medical professional should test you for gestational diabetes unless you don't have any of the risk factors associated with the disorder. If you are found to have it, then you should be placed on a strict diet or exercise plan to help you maintain your blood sugar levels. Medications could also be used to help you control your blood sugar levels, because poorly controlled diabetes can result in serious problems for both your health and the health of your child.

Excess sugar in the blood can result in excess weight gain for your baby or could lead to macrosomia, which is when your child is too large to enter the birth canal. It's also more common for you to suffer from hypoglycemia after birth, which can be life threatening if not caught and treated.

Source: BabyCenter, "Gestational diabetes," accessed Aug. 11, 2015

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