J. Raphael Barnes
Summary Gestational Diabetes occurs in pregnant mothers with retention of sugar or Hyperglycemia. This condition may lead to difficulties and other disorders if left untreated. In addition to complications for the mother, the developing fetus will also experience issues if the mother has hyperglycemia up to and including death of the fetus and mother.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Diabetes is caused when the body experiences Hypoglycemia or high blood sugar over a long period of time – a chronic condition caused by insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar. When Diabetes starts or is first diagnosed when a woman is pregnant the condition is then known as Gestational Diabetes. Usually there are no symptoms, or the symptoms are mild and not life threatening to the pregnant woman. The blood sugar (glucose) level usually returns to normal after delivery (McNamee, 2013). Women who have the following characteristics are at greater risk for developing Gestational Diabetes:
Are older than 25 when you are pregnant
Have a family history of diabetes
Gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds or had a birth defect
Have high blood pressure
Have too much amniotic fluid
Have had an unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth
Were overweight before your pregnancy
If a woman experience symptoms, some of these symptoms may include:
Frequent infections, including those of the bladder, vagina, and skin
Nausea and vomiting
Weight loss despite increased appetite
What is the treatment for Gestational Diabetes? The goals of treatment are to keep blood sugar (glucose) levels within normal limits during the pregnancy, and to make sure that the growing baby is healthy. Your health care provider should closely check both you and your baby throughout the pregnancy. Fetal monitoring will check the size and health of the fetus. A non-stress test is a very simple, painless test for you and your baby (McNamee, 2013).
A machine that hears and displays your baby's heartbeat (electronic fetal monitor) is placed on your abdomen.
Your health care provider can compare the pattern of your baby's heartbeat to movements and find out whether the baby is doing well.
The best way to improve your diet is by eating a variety of healthy foods. You should learn how to read food labels, and check them when making food decisions. Talk to your doctor or dietitian if you are a vegetarian or on some other special diet (McNamee, 2013).
In general, when you have gestational diabetes your diet should:
Be moderate in fat and protein
Provide your carbohydrates through foods that include fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice)
Be low in foods that contain a lot of sugar, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and pastries
If managing your diet does not control blood sugar (glucose) levels, you may be prescribed diabetes medicine by mouth or insulin therapy. Most women who develop gestational diabetes will not need diabetes medicines or insulin, but some will (McNamee, 2013).
What are some Nursing Interventions?
Assess knowledge of the processes and actions, including the relationship of the disease with diet, exercise, stress and insulin requirements. Provide information about the