Alternate Names : Diabetes of Pregnancy, Glucose Intolerance in Pregnancy, Sugar Intolerance in Pregnancy
Gestational diabetes is an intolerance to glucose that first occurs, or is
first detected, during pregnancy.
Glucose is the main form of sugar in the body. Gestational diabetes occurs in
4% of all pregnancies.
What is going on in the body?
Glucose is an important source of energy used by the body's cells. When a
person eats, the pancreas normally makes extra insulin. The insulin causes the
glucose in the blood to move inside the body's cells. In a woman with
gestational diabetes, the hormones produced in pregnancy block the effects of insulin. Glucose then builds up
the blood and the cells are left without a main source of energy. The result is
a high level of glucose in the blood, a condition known as hyperglycemia. High
blood sugar levels can damage the growth of the fetus. This may cause complications
for both the mother and baby.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
The following conditions may increase a woman's chance of developing
age over 25 years
family history of diabetes
mellitus, including type 1
mellitus or type 2 diabetes
mellitus in a sibling or parent
personal history of gestational diabetes
previous delivery of an infant with a birth weight of more than 9 pounds
a previous stillbirth
previous delivery of a child with birth defects
recurrent or persistent bladder
infections or vaginal yeast
glucose in the urine sample taken in the healthcare provider's
being a member of an ethnic group with a high incidence of gestational
diabetes. This includes women of Latino, African American, Native American,
Asian, or Pacific Islands descent.