Gestational Diabetes is a kind of diabetes that only pregnant women get.
In fact, the word gestational means “during pregnancy.” If a woman gets diabetes or high blood sugar when she is pregnant, but she never had it before, then she has gestational diabetes. Its medical name is gestational diabetes mellitus (pronounced MELLehtiss) or GDM. To learn what gestational diabetes is, you need to know a few things about diabetes in general.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes means your blood sugar is too high. Diabetes is a disease of
metabolism, which is the way your body uses food for energy and growth.
Your stomach and intestines break down (or digest) much of the food you eat. After digestion, the glucose passes into your bloodstream, which is why glucose is also called blood sugar. Once in the blood, the glucose is ready for your body cells to use. But your cells need insulin (pronounced
INsuhlin), a hormone made by your body, to get the glucose. Insulin “opens” your cells so that glucose can get in. When your metabolism is normal, your body makes enough insulin to move all the glucose smoothly from your bloodstream into your cells.
If you have diabetes, your insulin and glucose levels are out of balance. Either your body isn’t making enough insulin, or your cells can’t use insulin the way they should. Without insulin, the glucose that can’t get into your cells builds up in your bloodstream. This is called high blood sugar or diabetes. After a while, there is so much glucose in the blood that it spills over into your urine and passes out of your body.
If not treated, gestational diabetes can lead to health problems, some of them serious. The best way to promote a healthy pregnancy if you have gestational diabetes is to follow the treatment plan outlined by your health care provider.