Perinatologists (Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist) specialize in caring from moms and babies during a high-risk pregnancy. One condition that can require specialized care is gestational diabetes, a condition that occurs in pregnancy that affects the body’s ability to use sugars properly.

Gestational diabetes resembles other forms of diabetes. It results from hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Additional hormones made by the placenta during pregnancy cause the cells of the body to be less sensitive to insulin.

When your body’s cells are less sensitive to insulin, you have insulin resistance. As your pregnancy progresses, the placenta increases in size and produces more hormones, which in turn increases the body’s insulin resistance. Insulin is produced in the pancreas. If a pregnant woman’s pancreas cannot make enough insulin to accommodate for the decreased sensitivity to the insulin, then the blood sugar will rise and the woman will develop gestational diabetes.

Pregnant women are at high risk for gestational diabetes if they are overweight before becoming pregnant, have a family history of diabetes, are older than 25, have previously giving birth to a baby over 9 pounds, previously gave birth to a stillborn baby, have had gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

Expectant mothers who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes can control it by eating healthy foods, exercising, and taking medications if required. Your physician will work with you on managing your blood sugars during your pregnancy and your labor.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you should also be checked for diabetes after your baby is born. Your risk of developing diabetes outside of pregnancy (Type 2 diabetes) increases if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. You can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life by continuing to eat a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

If you are concerned about gestational diabetes or other conditions,perinatologists at Obstetrix of the Mountain States can work collaboratively with you and your doctor during your pregnancy to bring you much-needed peace of mind. Speak with your OB/GYN, and ask for a referral. For additional questions about the services offered at Obstetrix of the Mountain States, call 528-2925