Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before, but who have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, are said to have gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnancies, making it one of the top health concerns related to pregnancy.
What is the cause of gestational diabetes? A family history of diabetes
Obesity in the woman
Having had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
Older maternal age (over the age of 30).
A previous delivery of a large (greater than 9 pounds) baby .
While no-one really knows the cause, there are some factors that is might increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. These include:
What are the risks of gestational diabetes?
High sugar levels in your blood can be unhealthy for both you and your baby.
If a woman had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes have a greater change of developing diabetes, but there is also some other risks involved, such as macrosomia, or a "fat" baby. Babies with macrosomia face health problems of their own, including damage to their shoulders during birth, or a higher risk for breathing problems.
Treating gestational diabetes
In most cases, gestational diabetes is managed by diet and exercise, and goes away after the baby is born. But because gestational diabetes can hurt you and your baby, it is important to start treatment quickly. You should consult your doctor for special meal plans and scheduled physical activity.
There is no reason to panic
While gestational diabetes is a cause for concern, the good news with the correct diet and exercise, you can keep your blood glucose levels under control, and give a healthy start for your baby.
Andrew Palmer helps maintain Diabetesweb, an informational site on everything related to diabetes. Be sure to check it out if you need further information on gestational diabetes.