Gestational diabetes is a form of the disease that occurs only during pregnancy. It mirrors other forms of diabetes except that symptoms are much harder to detect. Gestational diabetes often is asymptomatic and only discovered with a blood sugar test, which is usually performed in the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. Some expectant mothers may notice symptoms, however. The most common gestational diabetes symptoms include increased thirst, increased need to urinate, higher levels of fatigue, and nausea.
The most common gestational diabetes symptoms to look for are increased thirst and excessive urination. Women who notice a marked uptick in their thirst levels should note this change and track their liquid intake to see if the trend persists over several days. Likewise, it is advisable to observe urination frequency, especially if the need to urinate more often is not matched with increased liquid intake. It can be helpful to bring this information to prenatal medical appointments so the doctor has the data readily available.
Pregnant women who suspect they may have gestational diabetes should also monitor their fatigue levels. While fatigue is very common during pregnancy in general, those with gestational diabetes may experience excessive exhaustion that interferes with everyday activities. Tiredness associated with gestational diabetes may be more noticeable in the second trimester, when fatigue generally lessens for most pregnant women compared with the first and third trimesters.
Nausea and vomiting are also common gestational diabetes symptoms. Similar to fatigue, these conditions often diminish as pregnancy progresses. Women who do not experience relief from nausea and vomiting into the second trimester should alert their doctor. Combined with other symptoms, frequent and persistent queasiness and throwing up should be considered possible signs of gestational diabetes.
Blurry vision is a more extreme sign of gestational diabetes. Unlike the other symptoms, blurry vision is not strongly associated with pregnancy side effects and should be reported to a doctor. Women with gestational diabetes may experience compromised eyesight when their blood sugar levels drop or spike. If vision returns to normal after eating, this especially signals that gestational diabetes could be the cause.
Weight loss during pregnancy is another clear symptom that gestational diabetes may be present. Most women steadily gain weight throughout pregnancy. If weight loss occurs after the first trimester, this could signal that the body is not efficiently processing glucose and that gestational diabetes is at fault.
It is vital for pregnant women to pay attention to any physical conditions that may point to gestational diabetes symptoms. Women may ignore symptoms as common side effects of being pregnant, but should report any indicators of the disease to a doctor so a blood test can be performed. Left untreated, gestational diabetes presents health risks to both the mother and fetus.