Monitoring your blood sugars can be stressful and confusing. Thankfully, knowledge is power, and the more you understand your body, the easier it will be to control. In this blog, we’ll explore the signs of high blood sugar during pregnancy and shed light on controlling your gestational diabetes.
Understanding High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can occur during pregnancy as hormone levels change. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t always feel your blood sugar rising. However, many expectant mothers are highly attuned to their bodies and can often sense when something feels off. However, being aware of the signs is crucial, as high blood sugar can be symptomless.
Signs of High Blood Sugar during Pregnancy
- Fatigue: Feeling tired is common during pregnancy due to the body’s increased demands. However, excessive fatigue can be a sign of high blood sugar. When blood sugar levels are elevated, sugar remains trapped in the bloodstream, preventing it from reaching essential organs and muscles. As a result, you may feel exhausted.
- Increased Thirst: High blood sugar triggers a natural response in the body to dilute and flush out excess sugar through increased thirst. Reaching for water more frequently than usual could be a sign of elevated blood sugar.
- Hunger: Pregnancy often comes with fluctuating hunger levels, but persistent and excessive hunger could be related to high blood sugar. When blood sugar can’t reach its intended destination, it may constantly leave you hungry.
- Weakness: Weakness and fatigue often go hand in hand when high blood sugar disrupts the body’s ability to nourish itself properly. Your body may struggle to function optimally if sugar isn’t reaching where it’s needed.
- Frequent Urination: High blood sugar causes increased thirst, leading to more frequent urination as your body tries to eliminate excess sugar. If you find yourself needing to use the restroom more frequently, it’s worth considering your blood sugar levels.
- Dizziness: Fluctuations in blood sugar levels, including rapid spikes, can lead to dizziness. Some expectant mothers may even experience reactive hypoglycemia, where blood sugar levels go both extremely high and low, causing dizziness. I personally experience this frequently, pregnant or not.
- Headaches: Inadequate sugar supply to the brain can result in headaches. Dehydration and blood sugar imbalances can contribute to this discomfort.
- Sweating: Sweating can occur when your body attempts to get rid of excess sugar. It’s a response that can accompany high and low blood sugar levels.
- No Symptoms: It’s essential to remember that not everyone will experience these symptoms. Some individuals may have high blood sugar levels without any noticeable signs. Regular blood sugar monitoring is crucial in such cases.
Pregnancy is a time of significant changes in a woman’s body, and it’s essential to pay close attention to your health and well-being during this period. You may have noticed many of these symptoms are also normal symptoms in pregnancy. As always, speak with your doctor if you are experiencing these. High blood sugar, especially when associated with gestational diabetes, can have serious consequences.
Even if you don’t experience noticeable symptoms, regular blood sugar monitoring is vital. If you notice any of the signs mentioned above or have concerns about gestational diabetes, consult with your healthcare provider. Taking proactive steps to manage your blood sugar levels during pregnancy will help ensure a healthy and happy pregnancy journey for both you and your baby.
Ginger Cochran is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator & Care Specialist, Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist, and owner of Nutritious Ginger, an integrative and functional nutrition practice focusing on full body self-care and nourishment. Ginger’s primary specialty is women’s health, with a special emphasis on gestational diabetes, weight management, infertility, digestive wellness, and overall health + happiness.
Ginger serves on the board of director for the Nutrition Care Manual by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.