During pregnancy – usually around the 24th week – many women
develop gestational diabetes. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn't
mean that you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have diabetes after
giving birth. But it's important to follow your doctor's advice
regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while you're planning
your pregnancy, so you and your baby both remain healthy.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but who have high blood
glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes.
According to a 2014 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
the prevalence of gestational diabetes is as high as 9.2%.
We don't know what causes gestational diabetes, but we have some clues.
The placenta supports the baby as it grows. Hormones from the placenta
help the baby develop. But these hormones also block the action of the
mother's insulin in her body. This problem is called insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance makes it hard for the mother's body to use insulin.
She may need up to three times as much insulin.
Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use
all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose
cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in
the blood to high levels. This is called hyperglycemia.
Source: American Diabetes Association