Gestational diabetes | Symptoms Causes & Treatment

gestational diabetes


Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is first discovered during the course of pregnancy (gestation). Similar to other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes alters how your cells utilize sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes an increase in blood sugar, which can impact your pregnancy as well as your baby’s health.

Although any pregnancy-related complication can be worrying, there’s a bright side. Expectant mothers can aid in controlling gestational diabetes through eating healthy food, exercising, and if required taking medications. The control of blood sugar levels can keep your child healthy and help prevent an uneasy delivery.

In women suffering from gestational diabetics, the blood sugar levels usually return to normal shortly after birth. However, if you’ve suffered from gestational diabetes, you’re at an increased chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. It is necessary to test blood sugar levels more frequently.


For the majority of women, gestational diabetes does not create noticeable signs or symptoms. More frequent urination and increased thirst could be signs.

When should you see a doctor?

If you can, get health healthcare early — before you first start thinking about having a baby to ensure that your physician can assess the risk of developing gestational diabetes as well as your overall health. If you are pregnant your doctor will examine for the presence of gestational diabetes in your routine prenatal treatment.

If you suffer from gestational diabetic issues You may require regular check-ups. Most likely, these will occur in the final 3 months during pregnancy which is when your doctor will check your blood sugar levels and the health of your baby.


Researchers aren’t sure what causes women to develop gestational diabetes while others do not. A high weight prior to pregnancy typically is the cause.

Normally, hormones perform to maintain blood sugar levels under control. However, during pregnancy, the hormone levels alter and make it more difficult for your body to efficiently process blood sugar. The result is that your blood sugar levels increase.

Risk factors

Certain women are at a higher risk of having gestational diabetes. The risk factors for gestational diabetes are:

  • Obesity and weight gain.
  • Inactivity and lack of physical exercise.
  • Prediabetes or diabetes that was previously diagnosed as a gestational condition.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
  • Diabetes in the immediate family member.
  • The baby was born previously weighing over nine pounds (4.1 kilograms).
  • Race The women that are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian American have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetics.


If gestational diabetes isn’t properly controlled can result in elevated glucose levels in the blood. High blood sugar levels can create issues for you and your child, including an increased risk of having an emergency C-section in order to give birth.

The effects of complications that can be harmful to your baby

If you are suffering from gestational diabetes the baby may be at a higher risk of:

  • Extra-large birth weight. Blood sugar levels that are higher than normal on mothers may cause infants to be too big. Babies who are extremely large that weigh more than 9 pounds – tend to get stuck into the birth canal are prone to birth injuries or require a C-section for birth.
  • The early (preterm) childbirth. The high blood sugar level can increase the likelihood of women having premature labor and delivery prior to that due date. Early delivery could be advised if the baby is bulky.
  • Serious breathing difficulties. Infants born prematurely to mothers suffering from gestational diabetes can suffer from respiratory distress syndrome, an illness that can make breathing difficult.
  • A low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Some babies born to mothers suffering from gestational diabetes experience an abnormally low level of levels of blood sugar (hypoglycemia) within a short time after the birth. Hypoglycemia can be severe enough to trigger seizures in the infant. Fast feeding and occasionally the administration of glucose solutions intravenously can help bring your baby’s blood sugar levels to normal.
  • Type 2 diabetes and obesity later in the course of. Mothers with gestational diabetes are at a greater risk likelihood of becoming overweight and suffering from the type 2 form of diabetes in later the course of their lives.
  • Stillbirth. Untreated gestational diabetes may cause a baby’s death at any time prior to or shortly after the birth.

There are a variety of conditions that can affect you.

Gestational diabetes could also increase your risk of

  • Preeclampsia and high blood pressure. Gestational diabetes increases the chances of developing high blood pressure and preeclampsia is an extremely serious complication of pregnancy that can cause high blood pressure as well as other signs that could threaten the life of the mother and the baby.
  • The procedure of a surgical birth (C-section). You are more likely to undergo C-sections if you’re suffering from gestational diabetes.
  • Future diabetes. If you’re suffering from gestational diabetes it is more likely that you will be diagnosed with it in the next pregnancy. Also, you’re at a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes when you grow older.


There’s no guarantee regarding the prevention of gestational diabetes, but the healthier lifestyles you adopt prior to conception the more beneficial. If you’ve suffered from gestational diabetic issues, making these healthy habits could also decrease the chance of it happening at a later time as well as developing the type 2 form of diabetes later on.

  • Consume healthy food. Pick foods rich in fiber, and low in calories and fat. Choose fruits, vegetables as well as whole grains. Try to find a variety of foods that will aid you in achieving your goals without sacrificing the taste or nutritional value. Be aware of the size of your portions.
  • Be active. Exercise before as well as during your pregnancy could keep you safe from developing gestational diabetes. Try to do 30-minutes of moderate physical activity every day of the week. Walk at a moderate pace every day. Take your bike. Swim laps. In short bursts of exercise like parking farther from the location for errands, you need to run or taking a quick stroll All add up.
  • Begin your pregnancy with an appropriate weight. If you’re planning to become pregnant, losing weight before you get pregnant can aid in better health during pregnancy. Concentrate on making permanent changes to your diet to help you get through the pregnancy process, including eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t put on more weight than what is recommended. The fact that you gain weight during pregnancy is healthy and normal. However, gaining weight in a short period of time can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Discuss with your doctor what is an appropriate level of weight loss would be for you.


If you’re at moderate risk of developing gestational diabetes you’re likely to undergo a screening test in your second trimester, which is between 28 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.

If you’re at a high risk of developing diabetes — for instance, if you’re overweight or obese prior to conception or have a father, mother, or sibling who suffers from diabetes, your doctor could test for diabetes during the pregnancy process, most likely during your first prenatal appointment.

Routine screening for gestational diabetics

Screening tests can vary dependent on your doctor The most common tests are:

  • Initial glucose challenge test. You’ll take a glucose syrup. After an hour you’ll undergo an examination of your blood to determine your blood sugar levels. A blood sugar reading of more than 190 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) which is 10.6 millimoles per Liter (mmol/L) is a sign of the presence of gestational diabetes. Blood sugar that is below 140 mg/dL (7.8 mg/L) is generally considered to be normal in a glucose challenge test however, this can vary from the clinic or laboratory. In the event that your blood glucose reading is more than normal, you’ll require another test for glucose tolerance to determine whether you’re suffering from the condition.
  • Tests to determine if you are tolerant to glucose. The test is identical to the first test, however, the sweet solution has additional sugar while your blood sugar level will be monitored every hour for 3 hours. If at the very least two blood sugar levels are higher than you expected the patient will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.


Treatment for gestational diabetics includes:

  • Lifestyle Changes in lifestyle
  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Medication, if necessary

Controlling the blood sugar level can help to keep your baby healthy. A close-knit approach can aid in avoiding complications during pregnancy and birth.

Lifestyle Changes in lifestyle

Your daily routine — the way you eat, exercise, and even your weight is an essential part of keeping your sugar levels within the healthy range. Doctors do not recommend dropping weight during pregnancy as the body works to support your growing child. However, your doctor may be able to help you establish weight loss goals according to your weight prior to your pregnancy.

Healthy diet

A healthy diet is based on fruits vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins — food items that are packed with nutrients and fiber, and are low in calories and fat — and also limit the consumption of refined carbohydrates, which includes sweets. A registered dietitian or diabetes educator can help develop a menu plan that is based on your weight, weight gain during pregnancy targets, blood sugar levels, exercise routine food preferences, and your budget.

Keep active

Regular exercise plays a crucial aspect of every woman’s overall wellness program before, during, and after birth. Exercise can lower blood sugar levels and, as a benefit, regular exercise can aid in relieving some of the most typical discomforts associated with pregnancy like back muscles cramps, back constipation, swelling, and difficulty sleeping.

With the approval of your doctor, you should aim for thirty minutes of moderate activity on all days in the course of the week. If you’ve been inactive for some time, begin slowly and gradually increase your activity. Swimming, cycling, and walking are great options during pregnancy. Daily activities like gardening and household chores also count.

Check your blood sugar levels regularly.

If you’re expecting the health team may suggest that you check your blood sugar level four or more times per day — starting in the morning and at the end of meals, to ensure your blood sugar levels are within the healthy range.


If exercise and diet aren’t enough, you may require insulin injections to reduce your blood sugar levels. Between 10 or 20% of the women suffering from gestational diabetes require insulin injections to achieve their blood sugar targets. Certain doctors recommend oral medication to regulate blood sugar, whereas others believe that more research is needed to prove that oral medications are just as safe and effective as injectable insulin used to treat gestational diabetes.

Monitor your baby closely

A crucial part of your care plan includes the close monitoring of your infant. Your doctor can check the development and growth of your baby through repeated ultrasounds, and other diagnostic tests. If you do not go into labor before the due date (or, sometimes, earlier, your doctor could induce labor. If you deliver after the due date, it can increase the risk of complications for both you and your baby.

Follow-up after delivery

The doctor will examine your blood sugar levels after the delivery, and then again after 6-12 weeks to verify that your levels have recovered to normal. If the tests you’ve taken are normal (which they usually are) required, you’ll have to have your risk of developing diabetes checked at least once every three years.

If tests in the future reveal prediabetes or type 2 diabetes consult your physician about intensifying your efforts to prevent the disease or setting up an exercise program to manage diabetes.

Support and Coping

It can be stressful to discover that you suffer from a condition that could impact the health of your baby’s unborn child. However, taking steps to assist in controlling the level of your blood sugar -by eating healthy food and exercising regularly will help ease anxiety, feed your baby and prevent the development of diabetes type 2 in the future.

You might feel more comfortable when you know the most you possibly can on gestational diabetics. Discuss your concerns with your health care provider or read books or articles on gestational diabetics. Women may have found a support group for women who suffer from gestational diabetes beneficial.

You are preparing for your appointment

It is likely that you will discover that you’re suffering from gestational diabetes through routine tests during your pregnancy. Your physician may suggest additional health professionals that are experts in diabetes, for example, an endocrinologist a registered dietitian, or diabetes educator. They can assist you in learning to control your blood sugar levels throughout your pregnancy.

Here’s some helpful information to help you prepare for your appointment. It will also help you understand what you can expect from your physician or other health professionals.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any restrictions prior to your appointment. When you schedule your appointment, inquire whether you have to have fasted for laboratory tests or any other preparations for tests that are diagnostic.
  • Record any symptoms you’re experiencing and include any that appear unrelated to gestational or other diabetes. There may be no obvious signs, but it’s a good idea to record anything that you find unusual.
  • Note important personal details that you need to remember, such as major stresses or life events that have occurred recently.
  • Write down all the medications, including prescription medications, vitamins, or the supplements you’re using.
  • Consider bringing an adult friend or family member with you, if it is possible. A person who is with you could recall something you didn’t or did not remember.

Questions you should ask your doctor

Create a list of questions that will help you maximize your visit with your physician. If you suffer from gestational diabetes essential questions to ask your doctor are:

  • Can I take steps to manage my health issues?
  • Do you know of someone who is a dietitian or diabetes educator who can assist me in planning menus, an exercise program, and strategies for coping?
  • Do I need to take medication to manage my blood sugar levels?
  • What signs should I look for to seek medical care?
  • Are available catalogs, or any other print materials that I could download? What websites do you recommend?

What should you be expecting from your doctor?

Your doctor might also ask you questions particularly if you’re visiting him or him at first. Your doctor may ask:

  • Are you experiencing an increase in thirst or frequent urination? If yes, when did these symptoms first begin? How often do you experience these symptoms?
  • Have you noticed any other strange signs?
  • Are you an adult or a sibling who’s had a diagnosis of diabetes?
  • Have you ever been pregnant prior to? Did you have gestational diabetes during your previous pregnancies?
  • Do you have any other issues in your earlier pregnancy?
  • If you have any other children, what was the weight of each of them weigh at the time of their birth?

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