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 Reference 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.
Just because you have diabetes does not mean that your baby will have diabetes. 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:
- Reference High blood pressure Opens New Window in the mother caused by Reference preeclampsia Opens New Window.
- 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 (Reference C-section Opens New Window).
- 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.
- Babies can also develop other treatable problems after birth, including low blood calcium levels, high Reference bilirubin Opens New Window 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 Reference type 2 diabetes Opens New Window. Up to 60 out of 100 women who develop gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes later in life.Reference 2
Gestational diabetes can affect up to 18 out of 100 pregnant women, depending on their racial or ethnic group.Reference 2 It occurs more commonly in certain ethnic groups such as Latin Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference November 3, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator