What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that starts during pregnancy. If you have diabetes, your body isn't able to use the sugar (glucose) in your blood as well as it should. This causes the level of sugar in your blood to become higher than normal.
Gestational diabetes affects from 1% to 3% of all pregnant women. It usually develops in the second trimester (sometimes as early as the 20th week of pregnancy). Most often, gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is born.
How can gestational diabetes affect me and my baby?
High blood sugar levels can be unhealthy for both you and your baby. If the diabetes isn't treated, your baby may be more likely to have problems at birth. For example, your baby may have a low blood sugar level, jaundice, or your baby may weigh much more than normal.
Gestational diabetes can also affect your health. For instance, if your baby is very large, you may have a more difficult delivery or you may need a cesarean section. Gestational diabetes also increases your risk of developing preeclampsia, which is a condition that can be serious if left untreated.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff