A General Practitioner, Dr Ayodade Oyeleke, has said that unusual symptoms in pregnancy, such as excessive hunger and thirst, may be signs of gestational diabetes.
Oyeleke, a physician at the Hilltop Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, and noted that gestational diabetes is a condition that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy.
“Gestational diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman has high level of blood glucose such that her body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it. Gestational diabetes is one that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy.
“Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, when the body stops producing or responding to insulin adequately. Gestational diabetes mellitus accounts for 90 per cent of cases of diabetes in pregnancy. Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar,” he said.
Listing the symptoms of the ailment, Oyeleke said, “Gestational diabetes may not present any obvious sign or symptom, as many of the changes can be similar to those that occur during pregnancy. However, possible symptoms include excessive hunger and thirst, with other symptoms being fatigue, blurred vision, vaginal or skin infections.”
According to him, screening for gestational diabetes mellitus after 24 weeks of pregnancy is important, as gestational diabetes may not come with obvious symptoms.
“This is important for women with no previous diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, women with pre-diabetes before pregnancy should be considered as extremely high risk for developing gestational diabetes mellitus during pregnancy and should, therefore, be screened early and closely monitored,” he said.
Oyeleke, however, said gestational diabetes typically goes away after giving birth, but that it that can pose serious health risk both to the pregnant woman and the unborn child.
He added, “The risks include premature birth of the baby, low blood sugar levels in the baby at birth and hypertension for the mother. Testing for diabetes during pregnancy is very important to limit these risks.”