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Diabetes that develops only during a pregnancy is called gestational diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes, your body does not produce enough insulin, or does not use it properly during pregnancy. Your body needs insulin to keep your blood glucose (sugar) level normal. Women with gestational diabetes have high blood glucose levels, which can harm mother and baby.
Potential problems for the baby of a mother with gestational diabetes include:
- Birth injury
- Large birth weight
- Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia)
- Low blood calcium
- Future risk of obesity and diabetes
Potential problems for the woman with gestational diabetes include:
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- Need for cesarean section at delivery because of an overweight baby
- Future risk of diabetes
The good news is that working with a health care team to lower your blood glucose levels can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy start for your baby.
Gestational diabetes usually goes away when you have your baby. However, having it increases your chances of having diabetes later.
Pregnant women are usually screened or tested between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.
Usually there are no symptoms of gestational diabetes or the symptoms are mild. Symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent infections (usually of the bladder, vagina, and skin)
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss along with increased appetite
It is important to monitor and control your blood glucose levels during pregnancy. You can control your gestational diabetes by:
- Eating healthy foods recommended by your health care team
- Staying physically active, and
- Taking your prescribed medications such as insulin or other drugs
Many women who have gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later. That's why lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, exercising, and reaching and staying at a healthy weight may help prevent diabetes.
- Age over 25 years
- Parent, brother or sister has diabetes
- History of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- History of having gestational diabetes or pre-diabetes
- History of giving birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
- Race: African-Americans, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Hispanic American