What is gestational diabetes?
If your blood sugar
level first becomes too high when you are pregnant, you have gestational
diabetes. It usually goes back to normal after the baby is
High blood sugar can cause problems for you and your baby.
Your baby may grow too large, which can cause problems during delivery. Your
baby may also be born with low blood sugar. But with treatment, most women who have
gestational diabetes are able to control their blood sugar and give birth to
Women who have had gestational diabetes are more
likely than other women to develop
type 2 diabetes later on. You may be able to prevent
or reduce the severity of type 2 diabetes by staying at a healthy weight,
eating healthy foods, and increasing your physical activity.
What causes gestational diabetes?
pancreas makes a hormone called
insulin. Insulin helps your body properly use and
store the sugar from the food you eat. This keeps your blood sugar level in a target range. When you are pregnant, the
placenta makes hormones that can make it harder for
insulin to work. This is called insulin resistance.
woman can get diabetes when her pancreas cannot make enough insulin to keep her
blood sugar levels within a target range.
What are the symptoms?
gestational diabetes may not cause symptoms, you need to be tested for the condition. You may be surprised if your test
shows a high blood sugar level. It is important for you to be tested for gestational
diabetes, because high blood sugar can cause problems for both you and your
Sometimes a pregnant woman who has symptoms has been
living with another type of diabetes without knowing it. If you have symptoms
from another type of diabetes, they may include:
- Increased thirst.
- Increased hunger.
- Blurred vision.
Pregnancy causes most women to urinate more often and to
feel more hungry. So having these symptoms doesn't always mean that a woman
has diabetes. Talk with your doctor if you have these symptoms, so that you can
be tested for diabetes at any time during pregnancy.
How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?
The American Diabetes Association recommends that all women who are not already diagnosed with diabetes be tested for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy using the oral glucose tolerance test.1
How is it treated?
Some women with gestational
diabetes can control their blood sugar level by changing the way they eat and
by exercising regularly. These healthy choices can also help prevent
gestational diabetes in future pregnancies and type 2 diabetes later in
Treatment for gestational diabetes also includes checking
your blood sugar level at home and seeing your doctor regularly.
You may need to give yourself insulin shots to help control your blood
sugar. This insulin adds to the insulin that your body makes.
There are pills called
glyburide and metformin used for
type 2 diabetes that some doctors are using to treat
women who have gestational diabetes.