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Diabetes during pregnancy

Diabetes during pregnancy, or gestational diabetes, develops in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Hormonal changes in the mother's body, superimposed on her genetic predisposition to the development of diabetes, lead to temporary insulin resistance, that is, loss of body cells' sensitivity to this hormone.

Propensity to gestational diabetes is determined primarily by genetics - when at the beginning of the Neolithic period, hunger was a daily reality, such a feature of a woman increased the chances of survival of both her and the child.

Half of European women and almost three-quarters of Asian women have this genetic trait, which has now become more harmful than helpful.

But in life, gestational diabetes manifests itself in only 3-4% of pregnant women - mostly, against the background of concomitant risk factors (excess body weight before pregnancy, in particular).

Gestational diabetes, if it is not "tamed" in any way, increases the risk of premature birth of a child.

In the case of gestational diabetes, the fetus is often very large (over 4 kg), so delivery may be complicated or a caesarean section may be required. In addition, half of women who had diabetes during pregnancy are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes 10 to 20 years after giving birth. Fortunately, this can now be prevented.

Gestational diabetes often has no symptoms – just like type 2 diabetes in its early stages. Sometimes its manifestation is too frequent urination, even for pregnant women, and greater than usual thirst.

That is why screening for diabetes during pregnancy is not based on symptoms, but on the glucose tolerance test - an unpleasant but necessary procedure, when a pregnant woman takes a dose of glucose, and then the laboratory determines how quickly her blood glucose level normalized.

Controlling gestational diabetes often boils down to following a diet that is very low in "fast carbohydrates" and small portions of food, as well as muscle strain. Sometimes, when this is not enough, medicines are also prescribed. Normalizing body weight before pregnancy is also helpful in preventing gestational diabetes.

Ministry of Health of Ukraine

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