Gestational Diabetes: Maternal and Fetal Health

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, typically in the second or third trimester. It is characterized by glucose intolerance and elevated blood sugar levels. Proper management of GDM is crucial for the health of both the mother and the fetu. GDM risk is higher in women with obesity, a family history of diabetes, advanced maternal age, a previous history of GDM, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Universal screening is usually conducted between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation using an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). A balanced diet with controlled carbohydrate intake and regular physical activity are the first-line treatments. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels helps ensure they remain within target ranges. Women with GDM are at an increased risk of developing preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and potential organ damage. Infants should be monitored for hypoglycemia and other potential complications shortly after birth. Breastfeeding is encouraged as it may help regulate the infant's blood sugar levels. By understanding and managing gestational diabetes, healthcare providers can significantly improve outcomes for both mothers and their babies, ensuring a healthier pregnancy and reducing the risk of long-term complications.

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