Maintaining normal blood glucose levels during pregnancy is necessary for the safety of baby and mother

High concentration of glucose in blood may cause diabetes. Insulin is the hormone that controls the amount of glucose in the blood at certain normal levels. But when it fails to keep levels in control it leads to high glucose levels and diabetes. When there is insufficient insulin or inability of insulin to respond to the glucose levels it may lead to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Another type of diabetes is gestational diabetes that affects women during the pregnancy. It is often temporary and caused due to certain changes in the hormonal balance during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes may disappear after delivery. However, a woman suffering from gestational diabetes should ensure that she keeps normal blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Similarly a woman suffering from diabetes and pregnant should ensure that normal levels are maintained for the safety and health of self and child.

What is gestational diabetes?
Insulin is produced by the pancreas to keep the glucose levels in blood under control. During the pregnancy period, a woman’s body has plenty of insulin. But then what causes the levels to go beyond the normal blood glucose levels. The reason for this is that insulin gets partially blocked by a variety of other hormones causing a condition called as insulin resistance. The body produces several other hormones such as estrogen, cortisol and human placental lactogen which may have a blocking effect on insulin. So the body produces insulin in larger quantities and yet fails to be overcome their effect. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after delivery. In the second trimester as placenta grows the probability of gestational diabetes is more. It affects about 1 percent to 3 percent of all pregnant women.

Normal blood glucose levels during pregnancy
The target normal levels that are safe for you would be explained by your doctor depending upon your overall health and other conditions. Often in the first trimester the glucose levels may be a little higher. Typically normal levels during pregnancy that doctors expect are 60mg/dL to 90mg/dL before eating, less than 120mg/dL one hour after eating and the same after two hours after eating. Anything lower or higher requires immediate attention.

The most widely prescribed test is the oral glucose tolerance test. It is a series of blood glucose measurements to study the response of the body after you have taken a sugary liquid. It is considered most reliable in this period.

How would glucose levels affect the baby?
The effect on a woman with high blood sugar levels consistently during pregnancy is macrosomia. The size of the baby is considerably larger than normal size. This is because the fetus produces all insulin it needs to use the glucose that maternal blood provides. This causes large fat deposits leading to excessively large size of baby. There also exists the risk of hypoglycemia. After delivery the baby may continue to have high insulin level. However, it would not have the high level of sugar from its mother. This would cause lowering of blood sugar levels in newborns. The baby may be given glucose intravenously to bring it back to normal.

To maintain normal glucose levels during pregnancy women should undertake specific treatment that includes special diet, exercises, insulin injections and daily monitoring of glucose. It is of utmost importance for the safety and wellbeing of mother and the baby.