Gestational Diabetes: What is it?
Gestational diabetes appears during pregnancy and disappears when the baby is born. It affects up to 5% of all pregnancies. Normally, this disorder does not occur until later in pregnancy, and can easily be detected by a simple lab test called a Glucose Tolerance Test. Once detected, it is important to start controlling the amount of glucose in your blood, so that the baby is not affected by the diabetes. Ninety-eight percent of woman with gestational diabetes are no longer affected by it once the baby is born.

Although gestational diabetes can sometimes occurs with no predisposing factors, women with a family history of diabetes or who are overweight have an increased chance of developing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes will usually reoccur with subsequent pregnancies.

There is a sixty percent chance that woman who have gestational diabetes will later develop Type 2 or adult-onset diabetes.

How does this affect your baby? Is your baby in danger?

High blood sugar levels can affect your baby in many ways. Uncontrolled gestational diabetes could potentially lead to various problems like:
  • Big babies at birth.
  • Lethargy or weakness at birth because of the sudden drop in sugar in the baby's blood.
  • Seizures at birth because, again, of the sudden drop in sugar in the blood.
  • "Shaky" or nervous looking baby with a high pitched or weak cry.

These conditions are not permanent, and are normally reversed at birth by giving the baby some glucose through an intravenous line.

By working closely with your Doctor, you can be confident that you are doing everything you can to prevent problems for you and your baby.

What happens now that you have gestational diabetes?

  • You will be followed closely by your doctor, obstetrician and a nutritionist.
  • The first step is to monitor your sugar levels closely, using a glucose meter.
  • The next step is to have a special diet that is geared for you and your baby, as well a daily exercise such as a 30 minute walk per day.
  • If the sugar in your blood is not well controlled by diet and exercise alone, your doctor will start you on insulin.