Gestational diabetes adds a new challenge to pregnancy for many women, who may find themselves developing another set of unpleasant symptoms. Unlike the other versions of the disease, gestational diabetes isn’t permanent and will generally subside when the pregnancy ends. But the condition can still cause trouble for mothers and their children before and after birth.
Many women will not notice the signs of gestational diabetes and will only discover the condition through routine testing.
An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), which takes about two hours, will uncover any irregularities.
Otherwise, they may not find out until they experience the signs of high blood sugar, otherwise known as hyperglycaemia.
Excessive thirst and increased urination
Excessive thirst is one of the first signs of diabetes, thanks to glucose buildup.
Glucose causes kidneys to work overtime so they can filter and absorb the sugar.
If they can’t keep in step with the amount of fluid generated, the glucose exits the body through urine, causing dehydration, excessive thirst and, in turn, increased urination.
Blood glucose at high levels pulls tissue from all over the body.
Unfortunately, this also includes eye lenses, making vision blurry.
Diabetes causes new blood vessels to form in the back of the eye and damages already established ones, leading to vision loss and even blindness if left untreated.
Tingling hands and feet
Untreated glucose buildup also causes extensive nerve damage, especially in the extremities.
Over time, this leads to tingling, numbness and even burning in the arms, hands, legs and feet.
At its worst, such nerve damage can cut off limbs altogether.
Swollen, red and tender gums
Diabetes also impacts the body’s ability to fight germs and bacteria.
An inactive immune system is less equipped to fight the bacteria which grows around teeth, which leads to infections.
People may experience receding gums, develop sores, or find pockets of pus.