Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

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Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) occurs in women who are pregnant and will often appear sometime in their 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. GDM, like other forms of diabetes, is glucose intolerance. Gestational Diabetes will affect approximately 3% of Canadian women during their pregnancies (1). This form of diabetes only occurs during pregnancy and ends after childbirth.

Women at risk of GDM may display mild forms of the following signs and symptoms including:

·Increased thirst (polydipsia)
·Increased urination (polyuria)
·Weight loss in spite of increased appetite (polyphasia)
·Nausea and vomiting
·Frequent infections including those of the bladder, vagina, and skin ·Blurred vision
Often these mild signs and symptoms are masked by the natural symptoms of pregnancy, such as fatigue, increased appetite or morning sickness (nausea and vomiting): which can lead to weight loss. In some cases women may have no discernable signs or symptoms. Instead, women should be aware of their risk factors, which include: ·A previous diagnosis of GDM

·35 years +
·A history of polycystic ovary syndrome
·Hirsutism (excessive body and facial hair)
·Acanthosis Nigricans (a skin disorder characterized by the appearance of darkened patches of skin) ·Being a member of a population considered to be at high risk for diabetes, including women of Aboriginal, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian or African descent. (2)

Unlike other forms of diabetes where insulin is lacking, women with Gestational Diabetes have abundant amounts of insulin. But, the effect of their insulin is blocked by a variety of other hormones made in the placenta. Hormones such as estrogen, cortisol, and human placental lactogen (HPL) have a blocking effect on insulin. This blocking effect usually begins about 20 to 24 weeks into pregnancy. The more the placenta grows, more hormones are produced and the insulin resistance becomes even greater. In most women the...
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