Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy
Gestational diabetes occurs in 4 percent of women during pregnancy and affects the body in a similar manner to Type 2 diabetes, including the presence of increased levels of insulin
and sugar in the bloodstream. When a woman has Gestational diabetes,
she may have diabetes only for the duration of her pregnancy; however,
about 2 out of 3 of women who have Gestational diabetes develop Type 2
diabetes later in life.
Why do some women get Gestational Diabetes?
A pregnant woman’s placenta causes an increase in her hormone levels.
This may lead to her becoming less sensitive to her insulin.
Gestational diabetes often occurs in women who are overweight, though
it is not solely linked to overweight women.
Also, just because a mother has diabetes during a pregnancy does not
mean that the fetus will develop diabetes. However, the high glucose
level in a diabetic mother’s blood with pass through the placenta into
This will cause the fetus’s pancreas to produce more insulin to take
the extra glucose from its blood into its cells. There, the fetus’
cells will convert the glucose to energy or store it as fat. Sometimes
the baby will weigh 10 pounds or more. Also, some birthing issue may
arise because of uncontrolled glucose levels of a diabetic mother –
Discuss this with your medical team.
Are you at risk?
Gestational diabetes can generally be controlled with proper nutrition and exercise, but may also need to be controlled through medication, such as insulin.
For more on how gestational diabetes and how to eat, see our gestational diabetes diet plans.
This is an important time in your life to celebrate the gift of life
and your unique role in it. We sometimes forget to take time for
ourselves and our unborn baby.
Insulin is the only drug used in the treating lack of insulin in Type 1 diabetes
and sometimes in Type 2 diabetics. In fact, insulin is a hormone that
should be produced naturally by your body. However, If you have Type 2 diabetes your body cannot properly use the insulin that it makes which
is called insulin resistance. Also, the pancreas does not make enough
insulin to convert all available glucose (the simple sugar)in the
bloodstream. It needs help.
If you have Type 1 diabetes, then your body cannot produce any
measurable amount insulin. The reason is beta cells in the pancreas
that produce insulin have been destroyed by the body’s defense system.
Glucose is the fuel supply of energy for the body, especially the
brain. Learning how insulin works is an important part of understanding
how diabetes works.
In short, insulin takes the sugar from the bloodstream and into the cells,
where the sugar is broken down to be stored as energy in the liver and muscles for
later use . Insulin also helps take up fatty acids from
the blood, and into the cells for further processing. Additionally,
insulin helps the arterial walls to relax. This action increases blood
When the body does not produce or properly use its own insulin, then the body starves because:
- Most of the sugar stays in the bloodstream and very small amounts
are converted to energy. An elevated blood sugar level has a toxic and
very damaging on blood vessels, organs like the brain, kidneys, nerves, etc.
- Fatty acid levels are high in the blood.
- The walls of the arteries do not relax resulting in high blood pressure.
In a non-diabetic person, insulin is produced in the pancreas by beta cells.
The pancreas gets a signal when the blood sugar level is high and responds by producing and releasing the proper amount of insulin
into the blood. That insulin is designed to move sugar (glucose) into
all cells including for energy and making fatty acids. Also it moves
sugar (glucose, fructose, and galactose) into muscle and liver cells
for storage or immediate use.
There are more than 20 different types of insulin that can be
recommended based on a person’s unique diabetic condition and needs
(see below). The major differences between the various types of insulin
- when it starts to work
- when the drug reaches its peak
- how long the insulin lasts in the body
When a person does not produce insulin naturally, he or she must
take insulin from an external source. Today, most insulin is
manufactured in a lab. Small amounts of insulin are obtained from pigs
– the closest to human insulin.
There are also a number of different methods
of getting insulin into the body, including the use of injections and
pumps. Depending on the type and severity of your diabetes, your doctor
will recommend a method that suits your body’s needs best. Here is a
brief overview of the most popular methods of getting insulin: Back to top..
A syringe is a device that combines a needle with a vial containing a
drug. Syringes are a common method of quickly delivering insulin
directly to the blood stream. In order to use a syringe, diabetics need
to be sure that the injection site is clean and sterile before they can
inject the needle into their skin. Often, Diabetics will inject
themselves with insulin in the thigh or stomach where there is an
increased amount of fat to absorb the needle.
An insulin pen looks like a writing pen, but instead of being filled with ink, the pen is filled with insulin. The delivery method
is similar to that of the syringe, except that users can control the
amount of insulin by turning a dial on the pen itself. The pen is ideal
for diabetics that are quite mobile, as it can easily slip into a bag
or pocket and can be used without drawing too much attention.
- Jet Injectors
A jet injector is a less common method of delivering insulin,
but is ideal for diabetics that do not want to use needles. The jet
injector is a device that sends insulin into the body using a
high-pressure spray of insulin across the skin. The insulin gets
absorbed by the skin, thereby eliminating the need for needles and
An insulin pump is an especially useful insulin delivery method for someone that requires careful insulin regulation and
has proven to be an effective method of treatment for Type 1 diabetes.
The insulin pump is a small device that is attached to the body through
a catheter that is located under the skin of the abdomen. The pump
sends the right amount of insulin into your body through flexible
tubing continuously throughout the day and in increased doses (see
bolus) after a meal. Note: This method is not recommended if you will
be playing contact sports or participating in other physical activities.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, researchers are
currently developing an insulin patch. The FDA has approved inhaled
insulin, both of which will make taking insulin easier. However, Exubra
has stop being manufactured. See your doctor to discuss the most
appropriate methods and types of insulin for you.
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