Learn More About Your Pregnancy
My last baby weighed 10 pounds. Am I at risk for gestational diabetes with my second baby?
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops in women for the first time during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is caused by a change in the way the mother’s body responds to insulin during pregnancy.
Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose out of the blood and into the body’s cells where it can be turned into energy. During pregnancy, a woman’s cells naturally become slightly more resistant to insulin’s effects. This change is designed to increase the mother’s blood glucose level to make more nutrients available to the baby. The mother’s body makes more insulin to keep the blood glucose level normal.
In a small number of women, even this increase is not enough to keep their blood glucose levels in the normal range. As a result, they develop gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of having a very large baby and possibly requiring cesarean delivery. It also increases the risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia as well. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes may have problems with breathing, low glucose levels, and jaundice. With proper prenatal care and careful control of glucose levels, the risk of these problems decreases.
If you have gestational diabetes you will need to manage your blood glucose level. Controlling your blood glucose level may require daily tracking of your glucose level, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and possibly taking medications.
For most women, gestational diabetes goes away after childbirth. However, they remain at high risk of having diabetes later in life. Mothers with gestational diabetes will need to have regular diabetes testing after pregnancy. If the result of the test done six-12 weeks after birth is normal, then you will need to be tested for diabetes every three years.