Everything Pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes Can Lead to WHAT?!

Gestational Diabetes High Birth Weight C-Section
In Germany, a woman gave birth to a baby weighing in at a whopping 13.47 pounds—wait for it—naturally! That's right, even though the 22.6 inch baby was nearly twice the weight of the average newborn, she was not born via cesarean section, according to the Daily Mail. That is one brave and very strong mama, if you ask me! I just hope for her sake her delivery wasn't as painful as it seems. All I can say is, "Ouch!" And if you're saying, "Wait, I thought this story was about Gestational Diabetes," well, then hold your horses, ladies. I'm getting there!

The shocking thing is that throughout all of this new mama's sonograms, no one raised a red flag that her baby seemed big. That's wild to me because my son ended up weighing in at seven pounds, seven ounces, and I was told along the way that we needed to watch his growth to make sure he wasn't getting too large.

It turns out like me, and about 18 percent of pregnant women in the United States, the mom had developed gestational diabetes. But while mine was monitored and I cut down on white flour, carbs and sugars and made sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, this mom's gestational diabetes went undiagnosed—which can be a dangerous thing.

Normally, the amount of glucose in the blood is controlled by insulin. But during pregnancy, hormone levels can get out of whack, and some women have higher than normal levels of glucose in their blood and their pancreases fail to produce enough insulin to have the cells absorb it all. So the baby can end up being larger and heavier, which translates to often a longer, harder delivery, and many times ends in a cesarean section.

It can also lead to the baby having shoulder dystocia, which is when the baby's shoulder gets stuck in the mother's pelvis during birth. During that time, the mom's not exactly comfortable, but the baby is really in danger as he or she may not be able to breathe. Once born, the baby could have low blood glucose, which can lead to poor feeding, jaundice, irritability, breathing problems, seizure and diabetes later in life. For most women, gestational diabetes goes away once the baby is born and the hormone levels return to normal.

It's unclear why some women develop gestational diabetes and others don't, but you could be at risk if you are over 25, have high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes, have been obese prior to becoming pregnant, or have a history of unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth.

So it's important for every pregnant woman to get a glucose screening at around 20 weeks (it doesn't hurt; it just requires drinking a super-sweet liquid and drawing blood an hour later). And if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is not the end of the world—though it may seem like it at the time (been there!). As long as you are able to manage it with diet and exercise, or medication in more extreme cases, you are still likely to have a perfectly healthy baby (like me!).

TELL US: Have you been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes? How did you manage it?

Image of a screaming woman courtesy of Shutterstock.