All About Gestational Diabetes: Warning Signs, Treatment, and Prevention

Dec 12, 2023

Pregnancy changes your body in a number of ways, including opening you up to new health conditions. For example, pregnancy hormones can make insulin less effective, increasing your risk of gestational diabetes.

Some of the changes you experience during pregnancy get a lot of public discussion, like morning sickness. Others are lesser known but more serious to address. Those include gestational diabetes, or diabetes that develops as a direct result of your pregnancy. 

Fortunately, here at Burlington OBGYN Associates in Burlington, Massachusetts, our all-female team of doctors and nurse practitioners can help you watch out for this condition by testing for it at our on-site lab as part of your prenatal care. And if you do develop gestational diabetes, we can help you manage it.

Warning signs of gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops when your body stops using insulin efficiently. Your body needs insulin to convert blood sugar into energy for your cells. The hormonal changes you experience while you’re pregnant can get in the way of your body’s insulin usage, which can cause sugar to build up in your blood. 

Unfortunately, gestational diabetes usually doesn’t cause obvious symptoms. Plus, some of the symptoms of this condition — like more frequent urination — are also known side effects of pregnancy in general.

There is one telltale warning sign you can watch out for, though. If you have notably increased thirst, talk with our team. 

Treating this condition

Because gestational diabetes usually doesn’t cause symptoms, we regularly screen for it throughout your pregnancy. If we discover that your blood sugar levels are elevated, we work with you to manage them. 

In most cases, treating gestational diabetes means making certain lifestyle changes while continuing to monitor your blood sugar levels. With a healthy diet and more frequent exercise, most women can keep their blood sugar at safe levels for themselves and their babies. 

During your pregnancy, exercise should be moderate. About 30 minutes a day of brisk walking, yoga, swimming, and other pregnancy-safe exercises are ideal.  

Our Burlington OBGYN Associates team can develop a nutrition and exercise plan for you to follow to minimize the risk of complications if you develop gestational diabetes. 

Preventing diabetes before and during pregnancy

Avoiding this condition starts before you get pregnant. You’re much less likely to develop gestational diabetes if you’re at a healthy weight, eating nutritiously, and exercising regularly going into your pregnancy.

Once you’re pregnant, two things — you guessed it: a healthy diet and regular exercise — go a long way toward preventing high blood sugar levels. Try to eat lots of produce, fiber, and whole foods while steering clear of excess fat and salt. 

We can also help you keep tabs on your weight gain. You do need to gain weight for a healthy pregnancy, but gaining too much too fast spikes your risk for gestational diabetes. 

We’re here to provide exceptional obstetric care. To get screened for this condition throughout your pregnancy and to put a treatment plan in place if you need one, Call Burlington OBGYN Associates or book an appointment online today.