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Gestational diabetes


The video is in Greenlandic with Danish subtitles.

What is gestational diabetes? 

Gestational diabetes is mild diabetes that occurs in pregnancy and, for the most part, disappears again after birth. Gestational diabetes is only seen in 2-3% of pregnant women. The disease is typically found in the last part of pregnancy, where due to pregnancy there are many hormones in the body. These hormones cause insulin to work worse, and therefore more insulin needs to be produced. Some women can't do this and they develop gestational diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes affects the way the body converts food into energy. When you eat, your body converts the food into a sugar called glucose.

Glucose is the “fuel” your body needs to carry out all your activities when you breathe, read, walk or run. Diabetes makes it difficult for the body to use glucose as fuel. All people with diabetes have the same problem: too much glucose in their blood.

To transport glucose from the blood to the cells, the body must use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas.

When you have diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin properly.

The glucose is not properly transported to the cells, so too much remains in the blood. This is called high blood sugar = Diabetes.

Who is at risk of getting gestational diabetes?

The risk is greatest if:

  • You are overweight
  • There is diabetes in the family
  • You have previously given birth to a child weighing more than 4.5 kg
  • You have previously had gestational diabetes
How is gestational diabetes treated?

Diet: The treatment of gestational diabetes is first and foremost diet, i.e. a diet that does not cause blood sugar to get too high. You will therefore be offered conversations about diet so that you eat appropriately for the rest of your pregnancy.

Exercise: Exercise is important when you have gestational diabetes. Talk to your therapist about what types of exercise are most appropriate when you're pregnant.

Blood glucose measurement: You will be given a blood glucose meter at the department where you are being treated. By measuring your blood sugar, you and your healthcare providers can see how the treatment is working. Your therapists will tell you how often you should measure and what level your blood sugar should be at.

Possible treatment with insulin: Some women (20-30%) need to receive insulin even if they adhere to the diet. Insulin is given by injection. Pills for diabetes are not usually used in pregnancy for the sake of the fetus.

How does gestational diabetes affect me?
When you get gestational diabetes, certain problems may arise. Fortunately, you can anticipate these problems by controlling and regulating blood sugar. When your gestational diabetes is well treated, there are usually no problems, but pre-eclampsia is seen a little more frequently, just as a little more people give birth after initiation or by caesarean section.
Can gestational diabetes affect my baby?

Yes, high blood sugar can affect your child, but well-regulated blood sugar can lower the risk of problems. When your gestational diabetes is well treated, there are usually no problems, but the following may occur slightly more frequently in children of mothers with gestational diabetes:

Large child: Because the child gets too much sugar and therefore produces too much insulin. This means that the baby grows larger and thicker than usual. This can affect childbirth.

Low blood sugar: Because the baby may have had too much sugar during pregnancy and during birth. This means that the baby produces too much insulin, and this can cause your baby's blood sugar to get too low in the first hours to days after birth. Some children may need to go to the children's ward.

Jaundice: Some newborns get jaundice. It is easily treated in the hospital with a special phototherapy.

You can help make a difference yourself
It is possible to regulate gestational diabetes. You can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child. Simply live a healthy life while pregnant. This also makes it easier to continue the healthy lifestyle after childbirth. The advantage of this is that not only do you feel better during pregnancy, but your risk of developing diabetes later in life also decreases. Just remember: You decide how healthy you and your child will live.
Will I have a healthy child?

Naturally, you can have a healthy baby even if you have gestational diabetes. Here are some tips:

  • Follow your therapist's instructions.
  • Follow the diet plan.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Measure your blood sugar yourself
Will my child be born with diabetes?
No, your baby is not born with diabetes because you have gestational diabetes, but your baby has a slightly higher risk of becoming overweight later in life and possibly getting type 2 diabetes, so it is important that you teach your child healthy habits.
Does gestational diabetes disappear after childbirth?
Your blood sugar usually drops to normal levels as soon as your baby is born. However, you have an increased risk of developing diabetes at a later stage when you have had gestational diabetes. It is important to continue to eat healthily, be of normal weight and exercise regularly. You should be checked with blood glucose monitoring 3 months after birth and then regularly every year or every two years. If you take good care of yourself now, the risk of developing diabetes later is less.