Your Health Matters: Screening for gestational diabetes vital for mom and baby

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If you’ve been pregnant, you know about the dreaded glucose test about halfway through pregnancy.
It’s an important screening for both your health and the health of your baby.

Our bodies go through lots of changes when we’re pregnant. Changing hormones cause a rise in blood sugar levels and when a woman’s body can’t produce the amount of insulin it needs, gestational diabetes becomes a concern.

Dr. Hannah Dewald says, “They don’t have diabetes outside of pregnancy, but just during their pregnancy, their body can’t handle the diet they’re taking in and so they get diagnosed with gestational diabetes.”

That’s why women are routinely screened using a glucose test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Dr. Hannah Dewald from Siouxland OB/GYN says that’s late enough in pregnancy to spot problems, but early enough that something can be done about it.

SOT “Once a woman is diagnosed with diabetes in pregnancy, we send them to a diabetic educator that goes over a lot of education about modifying their diet to decrease their blood sugar levels. And then we have them check their blood sugars four times a day,” says Dr. Dewald.

If you have gestational diabetes or are at risk for it, it’s not to be taken lightly. If unmanaged, gestational diabetes can lead to excessive birth weight, preterm birth, and an increased risk for developing diabetes later in life for both mom and baby.

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