Gestational diabetes is a form of the disease that happens to women during gestation, more commonly known as pregnancy. Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes is a very serious illness, and women who have it should be under a doctor’s care.
Gestational diabetes works the same way as other types of diabetes, namely, changing how your body breaks down glucose. When you eat food, your body uses digestion to convert that food into sugar, or glucose. This glucose gets into your bloodstream where it is met by insulin, which helps to break down the glucose and move it into the cells of your body where it can then be used for energy.
But when a woman is pregnant, a myriad of other hormones are produced, and many of them work against the insulin in your body, which means that the glucose doesn’t get broken down as it should. As a result, your blood sugar goes up. This can not only affect your health, it can affect your baby’s health as well. We will get into that a little later. First, let’s start with some of the risk factors of gestational diabetes.
We’re going to discuss risk factors first. This is key to understanding how likely you are to develop diabetes. Some women can produce enough insulin to make up for the problems that the hormones being produced are causing, but some women aren’t. These risk factors will let you know how likely you are to experience diabetes during your pregnancy.
1. Women 25 and Older
Any woman can develop gestational diabetes, but those that are particularly at risk are women age 25 and older. Of course, that isn’t saying much, as the majority of the women giving birth are 25 and older anyway. But if you are younger than 25, your chances of developing diabetes during pregnancy are pretty low.
The older that you get, the more at risk you are of developing gestational diabetes, simply because your body has to deal with all of the other issues that you have. People that are older are more likely to develop regular diabetes than younger people anyway.