Last March, Jolina Magdangal walked her followers through two necessary prenatal tests, one of which was the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Now, husband Mark Escueta revealed that the test showed Jolina, who is now in her last trimester developed gestational diabetes, otherwise known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
The soon-to-be dad added that among the many pregnancy changes and difficulties Jolina has encountered in this second pregnancy (spotting, acid reflux, etc.), GDM is the most challenging by far. "Takot siya sa injection pero ngayon kayang kaya niya gawin sa sarili niya, kasabay ng malaking adjustment sa pagkain," he added.
Thankfully, Jolina, who now has ultrasound scans each week because she's due to give birth soon, has been managing this latest pregnancy development well. "Even with GDM, everything is on track and under control. Thank you, Lord," Mark wrote in another post.
Your pegnancy is immediately considered high-risk when you're diagnosed with GDM. In an article on SmartParenting.com.ph, GDM is defined as a condition where a mom-to-be who didn't have diabetes before getting pregnant develops elevated blood sugar levels during her pregnancy. It may start to show at the 28th week of pregnancy.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) explains it this way: Pregnancy naturally makes a woman's body more resistant to insulin so that it can provide more glucose for the developing baby. GDM occurs when the woman's pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin to cope up with the body's increased glucose demand. Without enough insulin, glucose stays in the blood and cannot be converted into energy.
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Symptoms of GDM include increased thirst, peeing a lot and more frequently than usual, having a dry mouth, feeling very tired and nauseous, and having blurred vision.
Exercising and keeping a healthy diet while pregnant may help prevent the onset of GDM, though it's not a guarantee. All preggos can have GDM. Women more prone to the condition are women who are obese, over 30 years old, have high blood pressure, a family history of diabetes, or have been previously diagnosed with GDM.
Once a pregnant woman has been diagnosed with GDM, her insulin levels are strictly and frequently monitored. Doctors will impose a special pregnancy diet and require you to be more active. Some women with GDM may need anti-hyperglycemic medication or insulin shots, which is what Mark is likely referring to as "injections" in his post about Jolina.
There is no reason to panic if you get diagnosed with GDM because it is a manageable condition. But if you don't strictly follow your doctor's orders it has serious consequences during childbirth.
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Having GDM increases a preggo's risk of having pre-eclampsia, delivering prematurely, having a large baby which ups the chances of delivering the baby via C-section, having a baby with jaundice, low blood sugar, or breathing problems. GMD, if left untreated, can also cause stillbirth.
In a previous interview with Smart Parenting where she discusses how easy her first pregnancy was compared to her second (read more here), Jolina said she will have a C-section but not because of GDM. She explained that she has a very narrow pelvis, so a normal delivery is out of the question.
While GDM usually disappears after giving birth, research now has suggested that both the mom who had GDM and her baby could be at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The baby also becomes more at risk for obesity and glucose tolerance later in life.
As soon as you find out you are pregnant, do not skip the glucose test, which may be challenging for some. Most doctors require their pregnant patients to finish a whole bottle of an awful-tasting but safe sugar solution. You need to drink it so your doctor can confirm if you have GDM.