Have you heard of gestational diabetes?
Many of us haven’t heard of gestational diabetes, a lesser known but fairly common type of diabetes. Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy in women who didn’t already have diabetes.1 According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 10 percent of pregnancies in the US are affected by gestational diabetes every year.2
Gestational diabetes starts when a pregnant woman’s body is unable to make and use insulin. The condition usually develops around the 24th week of pregnancy.1
Although it usually has no clear symptoms, gestational diabetes can pose health risks for both mom and baby.2 For the mom, it can increase the risk of high blood pressure during the pregnancy; for the baby, it can increase the risk of being born very large (and potentially requiring a c-section), being born early, having low blood sugar and developing type 2 diabetes later in life.1 Also, about 50% of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.1
Given the health risks of gestational diabetes, the ADA recommends that pregnant women talk to their doctor about how to lower their risk and how often to get their blood sugar checked to make sure everything looks healthy.1
1 Gestational Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/gestational.html. Accessed December 3, 2019.
2 Gestational Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/gestational-diabetes. Accessed December 3, 2019.