Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects eight percent of all pregnant women. There are generally no symptoms. Therefore, it is usually diagnosed as part of a screening test that measures your blood glucose levels. This test is performed on all pregnant women between 24 - 28 weeks.
For some women, this will be the first time they will be educated regarding this condition.
This is an important first step in their preventive health care planning because having gestational diabetes means an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.
It is extremely important that you follow your doctor's advice regarding blood glucose level control while you are pregnant to ensure a healthy pregnancy and outcome for you and your baby.
Although the exact cause of gestational diabetes is unknown, it is believed that placental hormones, most notably Human Placental Lactogen, which peaks in mid pregnancy, creates a condition of insulin resistance, thereby making it hard for your body to produce and use the insulin it needs. When there is insufficient insulin, the blood glucose levels rise, and can cause problems with both mother and the unborn child.
The extra glucose crosses the placenta to the fetus, causing macrosomia (very large babies). This increases the risk of prolonged labor, C-sections, shoulder dystocia (an obstetrical emergency) and birth trauma. Metabolic problems that require close monitoring of the newborn are also more common. Additionally, the children born from mothers having gestational diabetes during pregnancy are also at risk for developing obesity and all of the medical conditions that accompany this condition.
The good news is that gestational diabetes can be easily diagnosed and treated, ensuring a healthy pregnancy and a wonderful outcome.
This is one of the reasons it is critically important that all women receive the proper preconception counseling as part of their women's wellness visit to see if they are at risk for gestational diabetes. Based on their history and that of their family, proper counseling can lead to prevention and early detection, which both play an important role in minimizing the impact on mother and child.
It is important to note that although recent public health guidelines suggest that Pap smears may only need to be performed every two years, they fail to convey the importance of continuing your yearly women's wellness visit. The yearly wellness check allows for your provider to screen for other conditions, do a thorough breast exam(breast cancer affects one out of seven women and early detection is key), a pelvic check for abnormal masses (a possible indicator of uterine or ovarian tumors), provide family planning advice and preconception counseling.
At Innovative, our mission is to empower women by informing, providing resources and support, thereby enabling them to make choices that will have a positive and lifelong impact on their health and that of their families and communities.
For more information on women's health issues and the women's health services we provide, please visit our website at www IWHCS.com.
Melinda Miller-Thrasher, MD, FACOG
Innovative Women's HealthCare Solutions (IWHCS)
Buckhead, Midtown, and Smyrna/Vinings
Melinda Miller Thrasher is a native of NYC and attended Cornell University, Mt. Sinai and NYU for her residency training. Her expertise includes fibroids and minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat fibroids. She is on staff at Emory University Hospital and Piedmont Hospital. Dr. Miller-Thrasher has been selected as one of Atlanta's Top Doctors each year since 2009 as listed in Atlanta Magazine, one of the Gynecologists You Love (Essence Magazine) and she is a Patients' Choice Award recipient. She is also a member of the WebMD medical review board. Her new book, "The Innovative Women's Guide To Managing Fibroids Without Hysterectomy" will be available in late 2014.