Gestational Diabetes

(Diabetes, Gestational; GDM; Gestational Onset Diabetes Mellitus [GODM]; Glucose Intolerance During Pregnancy)

Definition

Diabetes occurs when there is a higher level of glucose in the blood than is normal. Glucose comes from the breakdown of the food you eat. It travels through your body in the blood. A hormone called insulin then helps glucose move from your blood to your cells. Once glucose is in your cells, it can be used for energy. A problem making or using insulin means glucose cannot move into your cells. Instead, the glucose builds up in your blood. The build-up is called hyperglycemia.Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs or is first recognized during pregnancy. The extra glucose can affect the mother and the baby.
Large Baby Due to Gestational Diabetes
IMAGE
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Causes

Gestational diabetes is caused by reduced sensitivity to insulin during pregnancy.

Risk Factors

Gestational diabetes is more common in women who are 25 years and older. It is also more common in women of Hispanic, African-American, Native-American, Asian-American, Indigenous Australian, or a Pacific Islander descent. Factors that may increase the risk of gestational diabetes include:
  • Obesity or being overweight—This can affect the body's ability to use insulin.
  • Gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Previous delivery of a large baby
  • Sleep-disordered breathing—abnormal breathing during sleep ranging from snoring to sleep apnea
  • History of polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Previous stillbirth or too much fluid surrounding a baby during pregnancy
  • Multiple pregnancy—carrying 2 or more babies
Also, hormones that help the baby's growth may interfere with insulin.

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