FDr A.K. Ajmani, Sr. Consultant, Head of Endocrinology at Dr. B.L. Kapur Memorial Hospital, New Delhi, speaks on the effects of Gestational Diabetes in the pregnant women.
Onlymyhealth: What is the risk of gestational diabetes in pregnant women?
Dr. Ajmani: There are many risks associated with Gestational Diabetes in the pregnant women. The main ones include:
- High Blood Pressure (hypertension).
- Problems related to large babies.
- Increased risk of urinary tract and genital infections.
On top of this, there are the general issues related to the management of gestational diabetes.
Onlymyhealth: Do you mean that gestational diabetes increases the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension or what is commonly known as high blood pressure?
Dr. Ajmani: Yes, there is an increased risk of pregnancy induced hypertension (high blood pressure) with gestational diabetes. These conditions cause swelling of the body, kidney damage and convulsions. It is also possible for the pregnant mother to go into labour earlier than expected. There is also an increased risk of complications in the new born baby.
Onlymyhealth: Doctor, what do you mean when you refer to the problems related to large babies?
Dr. Ajmani: If gestational diabetes is left untreated there is a greater chances of having a large baby or what we refer in the medical community as Macrosomia (large size baby). Having a large size baby results in several complications for the mother since it increases the risk of obstructed labor, increased risk of assisted (forceps etc) delivery and increased risk of birth canal injuries to the mother. There is also a higher chance of caesarean sections with all the associated anesthetic and surgical risks.
Only My Health: How can one avoid getting urinary tract infections when managing gestational diabetes?
Dr. Ajmani: There is an increased risk of urinary tract infection and genital infections. A basic approach must include taking care of the following:
- Maintaining proper hygiene.
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- Emptying the bladder more often to avoid urine stagnation.
- Controlling diabetes.
- Early consultation with doctor.
Onlymyhealth: What are the common treatment options for gestational diabetes?
Dr. Ajmani: Gestational diabetes can be managed with diet for most pregnant women. However, there are some women who will require drug treatment (i.e. insulin).
Onlymyhealth: What would be your recommendation to women who are pregnant?
Dr. Ajmani: Make sure that you are tested for gestational diabetes in 20th – 24th week of pregnancy. However, if diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is of utmost importance to manage it and bring the sugar levels under control. It is vital to consult a physician at the earliest and begin treatment.
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