During pregnancy, usually around 24 weeks, many women can develop gestational
diabetes (GDM). Diabetes is a complication for 7 – 14% of pregnancies.
Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but have high blood
sugar levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. Being
diagnosed with gestational diabetes does not mean you have diabetes before
conceiving or will have diabetes after giving birth.
For most women, blood sugar levels will return to normal after giving birth.
Women with GDM often have no symptoms, which is why it is important for
women to be tested at the right time during pregnancy. Women who have
had GDM will need to be tested after pregnancy since there is a higher
risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
CAUSES OF GESTATIONAL DIABETES
The cause of gestational diabetes is unknown, but we have some clues. The
placenta supports the baby as it grows. Hormones from the placenta help
the baby to develop. But, these hormones also block the action of the
mother’s insulin in her body, which is known as insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance makes it difficult for the mother’s body to use
insulin and may need up to three times as much insulin.
Gestational diabetes starts when the body is not able to produce and use
the insulin it needs for pregnancy. With less insulin available, glucose
cannot leave the blood to be changed into energy. Glucose builds up in
the blood and causes high levels of blood glucose, which is called hyperglycemia.
COMPLICATIONS OF GESTATIONAL DIABETES
Complications in women with GDM may include:
- Larger than average newborn
- Increased risk of infant death
- Increased risk of newborn admission to Neonatal Intensive Care for control
of blood sugar
- Potential birth defects
SWEET SUCCESS PROGRAM AT PVHMC
Our goal is to improve outcomes for high-risk pregnant women who have
diabetes or who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. We also
help women with nutrition education and guidance throughout their pregnancy.
For more information, please