Gestational diabetes in your twin pregnancy – what to know and what to be concerned about.
Sometimes it’s best to be informed so that you understand why all these tests are needed throughout your pregnancy. Not all health care practitioners take the time to explain ‘why’ and just do the tests.
All expectant mothers will be tested for this at some point during their pregnancy. It’s common practice and not one of the favorite tests to take! Expectant mothers who are over the age of 35, over weight, or who have a family history of diabetes may be tested earlier and more frequently.
What is gestational diabetes?
In most cases, it is a temporary form of diabetes in which the body does not produce adequate amounts of insulin to deal with sugar during pregnancy. There is a slightly higher risk of experiencing this when you are expecting twins. It is brought on by the pregnancy and may also be called glucose intolerance or carbohydrate intolerance. Signs and symptoms can include:
* Sugar in urine (revealed in a test done in your doctor’s office)- that’s why all the peeing in a cup !
* Unusual thirst
* Frequent urination
* Frequent infections of bladder, vagina and skin
* Blurred vision
Who gets gestational diabetes?
Studies show that approximately 2-5% of all expectant mothers will develop this condition; this number may increase to 9% in populations where mothers are more likely to have many of the risk factors. The screening for this disease usually will take place some time between your 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.
Doctors will test for diabetes during this time because the placenta is producing large amounts of hormones that may cause insulin resistance. If the result comes back with elevated levels, further testing would be needed in order to confirm a diagnosis .
What kind of test do I take to find out?
During your prenatal visit your doctor will give you a really sweet liquid (sweet does not necessarily mean yummy – it’s gross!) to drink one hour before your blood is drawn. It may cause you to feel a bit sick to your stomach. The results will indicate if your body is producing enough insulin or not.
What if I have gestational diabetes ?
The most important part of treating this form of diabetes is controlling your blood sugar levels. There are simple things that you and your doctor can do in order to control your levels and keep them at a safe and normal amount:
* Close monitoring of you and your babies
* Self monitoring of blood glucose levels
* Insulin therapy, only if necessary
* Diet and exercise management , really watching what you eat during your pregnancy and making sure to get enough protein.
* It has been reported that women who develop gestational diabetes have a greater chance of developing overt (Type II) diabetes later in life.
How worried should I be ?
If this condition is diagnosed early and treated effectively, there is little risk of complications to you and your babies. If gestational diabetes is not treated, effects for mother and babies can include:
* Large birth weight
* Premature delivery of your babies
* Increased chance of cesarean delivery
* Slightly increased risk of fetal and neonatal death
With proper care and treatment, women with gestational diabetes can have healthy babies, and the diabetes should disappear after delivery.
It is important that you watch for any continuing signs that you may still be diabetic after giving birth. These symptoms include:
* Frequent urination
* Persistent thirst
* Increased sugar in blood or urine
Testing may be done a few months after the delivery just to make sure your blood sugar levels have returned back to normal. Usually all is well and you go about your normal diet and lifestyle ! Well, as much as can be considered ‘normal’ after having twins. And you may find that you have learned some valuable diet tips during your pregnancy that will now help you lose that “after twin babies” weight !