Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a woman without diabetes develops high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes generally results in few symptoms; however, it does increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, depression, and requiring a Caesarean section. Babies born to mothers with poorly treated gestational diabetes are at increased risk of being too large, having low blood sugar after birth, and jaundice.
Gestational diabetes is caused by not enough insulin in the setting of insulin resistance. Risk factors include being overweight, previously having gestational diabetes, a family history of type 2 diabetes, and having polycystic ovarian syndrome. Diagnosis is by blood tests.
For those at normal risk,screening is recommended between 24 and 28 weeks' gestation. For those at high risk, testing may occur at the first prenatal visit. Prevention is by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising before pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is treated with a diabetic diet, exercise, and possibly insulin injections.