Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar (diabetes) that starts or is first diagnosed during pregnancy – typically around the 24th week. Pregnancy hormones can block insulin from doing its job. When this happens, glucose levels may increase in a pregnant woman's blood.
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Gestational diabetes is a condition in which there is high blood sugar during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs when increased levels of certain hormones made by the growing placenta, which connects the baby to the uterus and transfers nutrients from the mother to the baby, disrupt the management of glucose levels.
Complications of gestational diabetes in the mother may increase the risk for developing high blood pressure during pregnancy or future type 2 diabetes.
The developing baby may grow too large requiring a cesarean delivery. Babies born to mothers who have gestational diabetes may develop obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. It also heightens the risk for having a future cesarean delivery.
Women older than 25 years of age, with a family history of gestational diabetes, overweight women, and women who are black, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian are more at risk for gestational diabetes. Additional risks include a previous pregnancy with gestational diabetes or a history of an unexplained stillbirth.