Gestational Diabetes: What You Need to Know

Gestational diabetes (GDM), also known as pregnancy-induced diabetes, is a condition in which blood sugar levels rise during pregnancy.


Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects around 1 in 8 women during their first pregnancy. Like most other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects the way cells use glucose. Pregnancy-related diabetes can affect a baby’s health.

If you are pregnant, it is important to be aware of gestational diabetes. This will help you closely monitor your blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar level rises, it can have bad effects on your health and your baby’s health.

What is gestational diabetes mellitus?

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), also known as pregnancy-induced diabetes, is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and blood sugar levels rise.

According to the National Institutes of Health, GDM affects about 18% of pregnancies in the United States each year.

Gestational diabetes is caused by changes in the way your body handles glucose (sugar) during pregnancy. These changes are necessary to supply the extra energy needed to support your baby’s growth and development. However, in some women, these changes might cause insulin resistance and GDM development.

What are the different types of gestational diabetes?

There are two types of gestational diabetes:

Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM):

  • IDDM is the more severe form of GDM and can lead to serious health complications for both mother and child. Diabetes mellitus type 1 is an autoimmune disease that results from the specific destruction of beta cells in your pancreas.
  • This lack of insulin causes blood and urine glucose levels to rise, which can be life-threatening for some people with this condition if not treated properly.

Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM):

  • NIDDM is less severe, but can still cause problems during pregnancy.
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2 is a combination of resistance to insulin action and defective glucose metabolism.

GDM usually goes away after pregnancy, but women who have had GDM are at higher risk for developing type II diabetes later in life.

If you are pregnant and have any concerns about gestational diabetes, be sure to talk to your doctor or midwife. They will be able to give you more information and help you manage your condition.

What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?

The most common GDM symptom is excessive blood sugar levels (normal blood sugar level is less than 140 mg/dl). Other symptoms may include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision.

If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your healthcare provider. With proper treatment, GDM will not cause any harm to you or your baby. untreated GDM can lead to serious complications for both you and your baby.

What causes gestational diabetes mellitus?

It’s not yet clear why some people develop gestational diabetes and others don’t, but there may be an association with weight gain before pregnancy as well as certain hormones changing during this time which makes managing blood sugar more difficult for your body than usual- leading to high levels of glucose in their systems.

Placenta supplies the baby with food, as well as water, and produces various hormonal substances which help to keep the pregnancy. Some of the hormonal compounds (estrogen corticosterone and placenta lactogen) can block insulin production. As the placenta expands, it produces more hormones causing insulin resistance to increase.

What are the risk factors for gestational diabetes mellitus?

There are many different risk factors that may increase your greater risk for developing gestational diabetes, including

  • Being overweight or obese with low physical activity levels
  • Previous gestational diabetics who do not manage their blood sugar well enough for long periods of time due to certain genetic characteristics
  • People in your family who have diabetes are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
  • Previously delivered babies weighing more than 4 kilograms
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • In addition, the race also matters too. Black women in America seem most prone whereas Hispanic females suffer from an increased risk as well.

How is gestational diabetes mellitus diagnosed?

In pregnant women with diabetes risk factors, the American Diabetes Association recommends screening for undiagnosed type 2 diabetes at the first prenatal visit.

Gestational diabetes testing is usually done at 24 to 28 weeks in pregnant women without diabetes.

If your glucose level goes up after drinking 50 grams of glucose, health professionals will do a glucose tolerance test.

After drinking 50g of glucose, the blood sugar test will show you how your body handled sugars after an hour. The test will need a 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test once blood glucose levels are deemed to be high.

Women who have a history of GDM are encouraged to have lifelong screening for their diabetes at least once a year.

How does gestational diabetes affect babies?

You will have a healthy baby, especially if you follow a good management system for your blood glucose during gestation. Immediately following birth, a nurse can check the glucose levels of the baby if needed.

Sometimes babies of mothers who have diabetes during pregnancy can have low blood sugar after they are born. If this happens, a doctor will check the baby’s blood sugar level. If the newborn’s blood sugar level is too low, the newborn may need to receive glucose intravenously. Blood sugar is closely monitored during labor. Sometimes insulin is given to keep the mother’s blood sugar levels normal.

Gestational diabetes may lead to a bigger child than usual. Besides jaundice, the skin is white and yellow. Jaundice usually disappears quickly during therapy.

What to do if you have gestational diabetes mellitus?

If you think that you may have diabetes, it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better. There are a number of ways to treat gestational diabetes, and the approach that is best for you will depend on a variety of factors.

Making lifestyle changes can be difficult, but it is important to remember that these changes are not only for your own health but also for the health of your baby. Gestational diabetes can lead to a number of complications, so it is important to do everything you can to manage the condition.

What are the potential complications of gestational diabetes for both mother and baby?

Gestational diabetes raises your risk for

  • Preterm labor leads to the premature birth of baby
  • Macrosomia (large baby)
  • Cesarean delivery
  • High blood pressure
  • Preeclampsia
  • Neonatal hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Neonatal jaundice
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Birth injuries

For the mother, gestational diabetes can also lead to an increased risk for type II diabetes later in life.

How gestational diabetes can be prevented?

There is no definitive answer to this question. However, some things that may help lower your risk include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting regular antenatal exercise
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • Limiting sugar and refined carbohydrates to maintain normal blood sugar levels
  • Reducing stress levels

If you have a family history of diabetes, it is important to be especially mindful of these things. Gestational diabetes can be a difficult condition to manage, but the good news is that it is usually temporary and does not cause long-term health problems for either mother or child.

With proper treatment and lifestyle changes, most women with gestational diabetes will go on to have healthy pregnancies and babies.

What are the treatment options for gestational diabetes?

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor may prescribe specific treatment options to treat gestational diabetes based upon your health condition, health, and history. Treatment can include:

  • Special diet
  • Exercise
  • Daily blood sugar monitoring with a glucose meter
  • medications and insulin injections.

You will need to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Healthy eating includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your diet. You should also limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, as well as processed foods.

In addition to following a healthy diet, you will also need to get regular exercise. Exercise can help your body use insulin more effectively. Walking, swimming, and other moderate-intensity activities are generally safe for pregnant women. However, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

Never try to lose weight during pregnancy, and never go on a “crash diet”. They may both be harmful to you and your baby. If you are overweight, you can reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes by losing extra weight before getting pregnant.

Can I get Type 2 Diabetes?

You could get diabetes later in life if you had gestational diabetes. But there are things you can do to prevent this from happening. Your glucose level should return to normal within 2 to 3 weeks of childbirth. You can take the test once every 3 months. You may also need to avoid gestational diabetes as soon as your second child is born.

You must be active all of the time and incorporate exercise into your everyday routine.


The purpose of this blog post is to educate people about gestational diabetes and its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. Gestational diabetes can cause health problems for both the mother and her baby if it is not treated. Prevention is key in managing gestational diabetes. Treatment options include diet and exercise, insulin injections, and medication.

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