Nutrition and Wellness/Diabetes Education Department
Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy and usually disappears after the baby is born. It is usually detected at 24-28 weeks of pregnancy by a blood test.
In all pregnancies, the placenta releases hormones that works against the hormone insulin. Insulin is the hormone that moves glucose (sugar) out of the bloodstream and into the cells. During 24-28 weeks of pregnancy the body is not using insulin as efficiently, as pregnancy progresses this "insulin resistance" continues. In most women, the body is able to just make more insulin to overcome insulin resistance. In about 10-15% of women, the body cannot make enough extra insulin and the blood glucose gets too high.
If blood glucose is not controlled your baby could grow too large. This is a condition called macrosomia. If your blood has more glucose (sugar) than normal, your baby responds by producing its own insulin. This extra sugar and insulin causes your baby to grow faster and bigger. This could lead to complications during delivery. Another complication of gestational diabetes is low blood sugar in your baby at birth. Once your baby is born, the baby's extra insulin could still be present but your baby is no longer receiving glucose (sugar) from your bloodstream. This could cause a sudden drop in blood sugar after birth. As a safeguard, your baby's glucose level will be checked at birth and several times afterwards. Having gestational diabetes does not cause your baby to have diabetes. Your child's risk of developing diabetes is related to family history, body weight, and lifestyle choices.
If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, call 225-3221 to set up an individual appointment with a certified diabetes educator.