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Gestational diabetes SYMPTOMS, TREATMENT, AND CAUSES is one that occurs during pregnancy. Like other types of diabetes, it affects how cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes the glucose levels in the pregnant woman to increase and this can affect the pregnancy and the baby.

Causes | Are You at Risk? | Diagnosis | Gestational Diabetes Symptoms | Treatment


Any complication in pregnancy is worrying, but gestational diabetes can be controlled by eating a healthy diet, doing physical exercise and if necessary taking medication. The control of blood sugar levels can prevent a difficult delivery and that both the woman and the baby are healthy.

Gestational diabetes disappears soon after delivery. But the risk of having type 2 diabetes increases if you have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy.


For some women, gestational diabetes does not cause symptoms or perceptible signs. In some cases, they may experience extreme thirst, frequent and abundant urination, fatigue or snoring during the night.

It is advisable to consult with your doctor if you are thinking of getting pregnant, as this can assess if there is a risk of gestational diabetes.

If you develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, it is very likely that you will need more frequent medical check-ups.

These are usually in the third trimester when the doctor will monitor blood sugar levels and the baby’s health.


Pregnancy hormones can block the work that insulin does and when this happens, blood sugar levels can increase. This is more common in the second half of pregnancy, since the levels of pregnancy hormones continue to rise, and therefore, blocking the work of insulin.

Insulin helps move glucose from the bloodstream to the body’s cells, where it is used as energy.

Risk factor’s

Any woman can develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but in some, they are more likely. The risk factors are:

  • Women older than 25 years are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
  • Family history with diabetes problems.
  • Gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, or when blood sugar levels are slightly elevated before becoming pregnant.
  • The excess weight. When your body mass index is 30 or more. Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy are also at higher risk.
  • It comes from an ethnic group with a higher risk, such as Hispanic Americans, African Americans or Southeast Asia.
  • He had a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds or had a congenital anomaly.
  • He has high blood pressure.
  • Too much amniotic fluid.
  • He has had a miscarriage.
  • Presents polycystic ovary syndrome.


Most women who have gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies. However, gestational diabetes that is not controlled can cause health problems for you and your baby , including a higher chance of needing a cesarean section.

There are some complications that can affect your baby. If you have gestational diabetes, the baby may have an increased risk of:

  • Excess weight at birth. The excess of sugar in the blood can pass to the placenta and make the baby grow too much. Babies weighing 9 pounds or more are more likely to have problems passing through the birth canal, sustaining birth injuries, or needing a cesarean section.
  • There is also an increased risk of premature birth and respiratory distress syndrome. In some cases, the doctor may recommend premature delivery because the baby is too large.
  • Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes may develop hypoglycemia shortly after birth because their own insulin production is high. Severe episodes of hypoglycemia can cause seizures in the baby.
  • They have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Gestational diabetes can also cause some complications in women and they have a higher risk of:

Have high blood pressure and preeclampsia. The latter is a serious complication that can endanger the life of the mother and the baby (4).
Diabetes future. You are more likely to have gestational diabetes in a future pregnancy and are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in the future.


It is essential to monitor and control your blood sugar level to keep your baby healthy and avoid complications during pregnancy and childbirth. In addition, it is recommended that after the birth of the baby continue to monitor their blood sugar levels.

Your doctor may ask you to check your blood sugar levels four or five times a day, to make sure your levels are in a healthy range. At first, it may be uncomfortable, but with practice, it will be easy and fast.

During delivery, the medical team will monitor the blood sugar levels , in order to avoid hypoglycaemia in the baby immediately after birth.

Bring healthy eating and physical exercise will help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. In the diet should include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, in addition, foods rich in fiber, low in fat and calories; limiting highly refined products, including sweets.

Regarding physical exercise, this plays an important role in the well-being of all women before, during and after pregnancy. Physical activity reduces blood sugar and increases the sensitivity of cells to insulin, that is, they need less insulin to transport sugar. You may be interested in the article on “Food during pregnancy” and “The best exercises in pregnancy”

When diet and physical exercise are not enough, you may need medication. This will consist of insulin injections to lower blood sugar levels. Between 10 and 20% of women with gestational diabetes need insulin. Some doctors may prescribe oral medications, although others believe that more research is still needed to confirm that these medications are as safe and effective as insulin in treating gestational diabetes


There are no guarantees when it comes to preventing gestational diabetes. But healthy habits before and during pregnancy can help prevent it.

Eating healthy foods. Choose foods high in fiber and low in fat. You should focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try a varied diet and control the size of the portions.

Physical activity. Exercising before and during pregnancy can decrease the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Do physical exercise at least 30 minutes a day , walking, swimming or pilates, are highly recommended activities during pregnancy.

If you are overweight before pregnancy, it is important that you try to lose some weight before you get pregnant. Doctors do not recommend diets to lose weight during pregnancy.