Gestational Diabetes - What Happens
Most women find out they have
gestational diabetes after being tested between the
24th and 28th weeks of their pregnancy. After you know you have gestational
diabetes, you will need to make certain changes in the way you eat and how
often you exercise to help keep your blood sugar level within a
target range. As you get farther
along in your pregnancy, your body will continue to make more and more
hormones. This can make it harder and harder to control your blood sugar. If it
is not possible to control your blood sugar with food and exercise, you may
also need to
give yourself shots of insulin. Some doctors are using pills called
glyburide and metformin to treat
women who have gestational diabetes.
- Diabetes: Giving Yourself an Insulin Shot
Most women who have gestational
diabetes give birth to healthy babies. If you are able to keep your blood sugar
level within a target range, your chances of having problems during pregnancy or
birth are the same as if you didn't have gestational diabetes.
Sometimes a mother or her baby has problems because of high blood sugar.
These problems include:
- High blood pressure in the mother caused by
- A baby that grows too large. If a developing baby (fetus) receives too much
sugar, the sugar can turn into fat, causing the baby to grow larger than
normal. A large baby can be injured during vaginal birth and may need to be
delivered surgically (C-section).
- After the baby is born, the baby's blood
sugar level may drop too low, and he or she may need to be given extra sugar.
can also develop other treatable problems after birth, including low blood
calcium levels, high
bilirubin levels, and too many red blood cells.
Most of the time, gestational diabetes goes away after a
baby is born. But if you have had gestational diabetes, you have a greater
chance of having it in a future pregnancy and of developing
type 2 diabetes. Up to 60 out of 100 women who develop
gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes later in life.2
Gestational diabetes can affect up to 18 out of 100 pregnant
women, depending on their racial or ethnic group.2 It
occurs more commonly in certain ethnic groups such as Latin Americans, Native
Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Pacific Islanders.