Gestational Diabetes & Influential Weather

There are over 200,000 cases in the US every year of pregnant women affected by gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed when a woman acquires diabetes while pregnant. During pregnancy, women who have high blood sugar caused by placental hormones will have diabetes symptoms. These symptoms include excessive hunger and thirst and fatigue.  Most common ages affected by this are women between the ages of 19 and 40. Baby Center reports that between 5-10% of all women that are pregnant get gestational diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims 9.2% are affected by high blood sugar.

Your body’s resistance levels to insulin heighten when pregnant. The growing baby requires glucose to stay healthy and nourished. Healthy pregnant women that do not have gestational diabetes. They have pancreases that are able to secrete insulin into the blood to process extra glucose. Women that have gestational diabetes during pregnancy cannot keep up with the rise in glucose. When cells are unable to use the glucose, blood sugar levels remain too high.

Research On Temperatures Affecting GD

A recent research study was performed over the past 12 years, on 396,828 pregnant women that were on average 31 years old.

Research was done to find correlations between outside air temperatures and the risk of developing gestational diabetes. New research shows that a woman’s pregnant body is more sensitive to insulin when exposed to cold temperatures. When the body needs to produce more heat to stay warm, there is an improvement of insulin sensitivity. Research in Ontario, Canada at hospitals including St. Michael’s, CES, and Mount Sinai Hospital. Studies showed, “Each 10°C temperature increase raises the risk of GD by 6 to 9 percent.”

The study showed that 4.6% of women exposed to extremely cold temperatures (10°C or less) were diagnosed with gestational diabetes. In comparison, 7.7% of women exposed to hot temperatures (average 24°C) were diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Dr. Booth of St. Michael’s Hospital reports, “It fits a pattern we expected from new studies showing that cold exposure can improve your sensitivity to insulin, by turning on a protective type of fat called brown adipose tissue.” The National Institutes of Health states that brown fat increases with cold temperature exposure and improves not only glucose levels but also metabolism.

Staying Healthy

gestational diabetesGetting your diabetes under control is important. Visit your doctor and get a medical diagnosis. Then, your doctor will be able to provide recommendations on a healthy diet, exercise regimen and the medicine necessary to stay healthy. Usually, pregnant women are screen tested between 24 and 28 weeks. Your doctor will advise you on daily blood sugar monitoring if necessary. Diabetes medicine
like insulin will also be prescribed in addition to other treatment plans depending on the individual. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your baby will be monitored throughout the pregnancy to make sure he or she is not negatively affected by gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is not permanent and will resolve within months. However, those who have gestational diabetes are at higher risk of getting Type 2 diabetes when they get older. There are a few factors that increase your risk of getting gestational diabetes. The picture on the right lists these factors.

Once it is determined that you have gestational diabetes, make sure that you keep your glucose levels monitored and managed properly. This will ensure your health as well as the baby’s. There are some complications associated with gestational diabetes. Labor may begin before the scheduled date and the baby will be born early. You could get high blood pressure. You could also have preeclampsia, which is a short-term issue of high blood pressure with swelling in your hands and feet. Your baby might weigh more and need to be delivered by C-section. A baby born to a mother with gestational diabetes may have low blood sugar and difficulties breathing. Talk to your healthcare provider to ensure a safe and healthy delivery of your baby!

Lucas Research Can Help

For advice on your diabetes while pregnant, please contact your primary health provider or reach out to Lucas Research. Lucas Research has helpful tips for staying healthy with diabetes. Contact us today for more information.