The causes of gestational diabetes are important to know about because this pregnancy complication can have far-reaching consequences for both mother and baby. We look at the causes as well as the consequences of gestational diabetes and also look at what you can do to avoid this condition.
Causes of gestational diabetes
Why gestational diabetes occurs is not fully understood. However the gestational diabetes causes or rather the mechanics of it according to Mayo Clinic is something like this: during pregnancy, the production of various hormones is increased.
These hormones hinder the proper production of insulin during pregnancy. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, is the hormone that converts blood sugar into energy for the cells.
Since less insulin is able to be produced during pregnancy, the levels of blood sugar tend to rise slightly at this time. Later in the pregnancy the blood sugar rises further due to the hormones that the placenta produces.
So these are the causes of gestational diabetes which usually develops only in the second half of a pregnancy.
Consequences of gestational diabetes
Though women go on to deliver healthy babies even with gestational diabetes, there could be certain complications if the blood sugar levels are not properly controlled.
Macrosomia (large for gestational age babies) is often a consequence of poorly managed pregnancy diabetes.
Not only does this increase chances of having to undergo a C section delivery, it also increases chances of preeclampsia and stillbirth. The mother is also more likely to develop diabetes later in life, because the causes of gestational diabetes predispose her to this disease later in life.
There could be further problems such as breathing difficulties or the risk of jaundice for the baby after birth. Gestational diabetes could also put the baby at risk of obesity in childhood and adulthood. If diabetes during pregnancy is very poorly controlled the baby’s blood calcium levels could suffer and this could mean impaired heart function.
Trying to avoid gestational diabetes
In many cases gestational diabetes may not be avoidable. But to make sure that you have done everything possible to avoid this pregnancy complication you can try and get as close to a healthy, normal weight before getting pregnant.
If you looked at causes of gestational diabetes above you will understand the importance of controlling blood sugar levels before and through pregnancy. This can be done by eating a healthy, balanced diet with lesser proportion of carbs and by exercising regularly.