Gestational diabetes happens only during pregnancy and can cause health problems for the baby and the mother if not controlled. Gestational diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are too high during pregnancy.
Usually there are no symptoms.
If you are high risk, you may be tested at your first prenatal visit. Routine testing for diabetes will be ordered at 24-28 weeks. If you do not pass the screening test, you will take a second longer test.
Most women with pregnancy related diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by following a healthy meal plan from their doctor. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you will be referred for diabetes education at the CHH Perinatal & Hypertension Center. Some women also need medications to keep blood sugar levels under control.
Women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of:
- Early delivery
- Cesarean birth
- Having a big baby, which can complicate delivery
- Baby born with low blood sugar, breathing problems and jaundice
Who is at risk?
- Women over the age of 35
- Women who are obese or overweight
- Women who have previously had gestational diabetes
- Women who have had a very large baby
- Women with a family history of diabetes
- Women who have had an unexplained stillbirth before
- Women who are African American, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic, Latina or Pacific Islander
Women with gestational diabetes should be tested for diabetes 6-12 weeks after giving birth and then every 3 years. The child should frequently be tested for diabetes throughout childhood.
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