During your pregnancy care at OGB, your Obstetrician, and Midwife will discuss testing for Gestational Diabetes. This is a common condition in pregnancy. If Gestational Diabetes is detected, you, and your OGB team, can play an important role in ensuring the safe birth of your baby.
Around 10% of women in Australia develop Gestational Diabetes (GD). There are some pre-existing conditions a woman may have which increase the likelihood of developing GD. Women who have PCOS, are of high BMI, and are pregnant with twins have an increased likelihood. Similarly, women of Asian heritage, and those who have had GD in prior pregnancies may develop GD again.
GD is diagnosed by having a glucose tolerance test. You will be asked to have a small blood test when fasted, then have a glucose drink. After the drink, two more tests are taken at one hour intervals. The results of your blood glucose tests will be assessed and your OGB Specialist will give you the results at your next visit.
If the result shows that you DON’T have GD, you should still eat a healthy diet, with low levels of sugar and carbohydrates, along with lean meats, fruit and leafy vegetables.
If you do have GD, you will be offered an appointment with a diabetes educator, and perhaps a dietician. These people will help you further refine your diet, and show you how to check your blood sugar levels, which will need to be done first thing in the morning, and 2 hours after each meal. Yes, it is involved, but it is important.
The majority of women will have good control of their sugar levels simply by watching their diet, and maintaining an active life during pregnancy. For some women, however, the sugar levels remain higher than ideal, and medication is needed. The medication used will be either the oral medication, metformin, or insulin. Your OGB Specialist will advise you as to which is best for you. Further treatment which may be required, especially if you need metformin or insulin, will include more regular visits, ultrasounds to check the wellbeing of your baby, and heart beat monitoring (CTGs).
When a woman has GD, it is very common to have induction of labour offered before full term. The plan of induction, and treatment, of women with GD, has been shown to significantly improve the labour experience for the woman, reducing the chances of caesarean section, reducing delivery problems with vaginal birth, and significantly improving the health of the newborn baby.
If you do find out that you have GD, don’t worry. Your OGB team know exactly what to do to minimize the likelihood of problems.
All the best
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