Gestational Diabetes


Gestational Diabetes


Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Pregnancy affects your body’s physiology in different ways. This may alter your body’s ability to process sugar, sometimes resulting in gestational diabetes.


Anyone can develop gestational diabetes, regardless of whether they have a history of metabolic issues. We test every client at around 28 weeks of pregnancy.


Gestational diabetes usually resolves with the delivery of the baby. However, we do additional glucose testing at about 6-8 weeks postpartum to make sure that the diabetes has resolved.


We also test the baby’s blood sugar after birth, to make sure their levels are good as well.



Risk Factors


Certain factors can increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes. These risk factors include:


– History of Gestational Diabetes in Previous Pregnancies: If you have had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, you are at a higher risk of developing it again in subsequent pregnancies. This recurrence is due to the body’s predisposition to insulin resistance during pregnancy.


– Family History of Gestational Diabetes: A history of gestational diabetes in your immediate family, such as your mother or sisters, can increase your likelihood of developing the condition. This familial link suggests a genetic component that may predispose you to gestational diabetes.


– Family History of Diabetes Mellitus: If there is a history of type 1 or type 2 diabetes in your family, you may be at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes. This genetic predisposition can affect your body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels effectively during pregnancy.


– Obesity: Being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for gestational diabetes. Excess body weight can lead to insulin resistance, which is the primary cause of gestational diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight before and during pregnancy can help reduce this risk.



How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Me?


Having gestational diabetes can sometimes complicate your pregnancy, especially if you are unable to control your blood sugar levels effectively. Proper management of gestational diabetes is crucial to minimizing potential complications for both you and your baby. Here are some potential consequences of gestational diabetes:


– Having a Bigger Baby (Macrosomia): Gestational diabetes can lead to the baby growing larger than average, a condition known as macrosomia. This can increase the likelihood of complications during delivery, such as shoulder dystocia, which occurs when the baby’s shoulders get stuck during birth. A larger baby may also necessitate a cesarean section to ensure a safe delivery.


– Needing an Early Induction of Pregnancy: In some cases, doctors may recommend inducing labor before your due date if gestational diabetes is not well-controlled. Early induction helps to mitigate risks associated with a larger baby and other potential complications. However, it can also pose its own set of challenges, such as a higher likelihood of needing a cesarean section.


– Baby Having a Low Blood Sugar Level After Delivery (Neonatal Hypoglycemia): Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are at risk of developing low blood sugar levels shortly after birth. This condition, known as neonatal hypoglycemia, occurs because the baby’s insulin production is high in response to the mother’s elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Close monitoring and prompt treatment are necessary to stabilize the baby’s blood sugar levels.


– Developing Diabetes Mellitus Later in Life: Women who have had gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus later in life. Additionally, their children may also be at a higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes. It is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle and undergo regular screenings to monitor and manage blood sugar levels after pregnancy.


If you have concerns regarding gestational diabetes, discuss them with your midwife during your prenatal appointments for more information or give us a call!