Gestational Diabetes: What You Need to Know
This pregnancy complication is more common than you might think. Learn who's at risk for it, how it's detected, and what can be done to treat it.
For years, doctors believed that gestational diabetes affected three to five percent of all pregnancies, but new, more rigorous diagnostic criteria puts the number closer to 18 percent. The condition, which can strike any pregnant woman, usually develops in the second trimester, between weeks 24 and 28, and typically resolves after baby is born. If gestational diabetes is treated and well-managed throughout your pregnancy, "There's no reason you can't deliver a very healthy baby," says Patricia Devine, M.D., perinatologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. But gestational diabetes that goes untreated, or isn't carefully monitored, can be harmful for both mother and baby. Consult our guide for risk factors, signs of gestational diabetes, and treatment options.
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes, or diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy in a woman who previously did not have diabetes, occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar efficiently. "A hormone produced by the placenta makes a woman essentially resistant to her own insulin," Dr. Devine explains.
How does gestational diabetes differ from type 1 or 2 diabetes?
Gestational diabetes affects only pregnant women. People who have type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes, are generally born with it. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 95 percent of all cases of diabetes in the U.S.; it occurs in Continue reading