Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes found in pregnant women. There is no known specific cause but it is believed the hormones of pregnancy reduce a womans receptibility to insulin resulting in high blood sugar. Gestational diabetes affects an estimated two to three percent of pregnant women.
Risk factors for diabetes include:
- a family history of type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes
- maternal age - a woman's risk factor increases the older she is
- ethnic background (those with higher risk factors include African-Americans, North American native peoples and Hispanics)
- gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- a previous pregnancy that resulted in a child with a birth weight of 9 pounds or more
Frequently women with gestational diabetes exhibit no symptoms. However, possible symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, bladder and yeast infection, and blurred vision.
Testing and treatment
Generally a test for gestational diabetes is carried out between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.
Often, gestational diabetes can be managed through a combination of diet and exercise. If that is not possible, it is treated with insulin, in a similar manner to diabetes mellitus.
Poorly controlled gestational diabetes can lead to the growth of a macrosomic or large baby. This in turns increases the need for instrumental deliveries (eg forceps, vacuum and caesarean section). These babies often need specialised care in the post partum period.
In the future the mother is at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
de:Schwangerschaftsdiabetes fr:Diabète gestationnel ru:Диабет беременных
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