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When Diabetes Develops During Pregnancy

Some women develop diabetes after they become pregnant. This condition is known as gestational diabetes. The good news is that it’s a treatable condition. Both mother and baby can be healthy, often with lifestyle changes alone.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Hormones that help your baby develop during pregnancy may prevent insulin from working normally in your body. Insulin helps move sugar, or glucose, from your blood into your cells. If you become resistant to insulin, your blood glucose level rises. Women who develop high blood glucose for the first time while pregnant have gestational diabetes. However, some women diagnosed with diabetes early in pregnancy may have had undiagnosed preexisting diabetes.

Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy

Without treatment, gestational diabetes carries some serious risks. These include the risk for:

  • High blood pressure and sudden high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia) in the mother
  • The baby being so large that the mother must have a cesarean section
  • Breathing problems and blood sugar problems in the baby after birth
  • Death of the baby in the last one to two months of pregnancy

Getting treatment can help reduce these risks. The key to keeping yourself and your baby healthy is to manage your blood sugar level. Many women can do this simply by following a healthy meal plan and getting regular exercise. Some women need to check their blood sugar level and take insulin as well. If you have concerns about gestational diabetes or you're at risk and thinking of becoming pregnant, talk with your health care provider.

After giving birth, blood sugar levels in mothers with gestational diabetes usually return to normal, but these women are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the future. Eating right and being active remain important to help prevent this from happening.

Source: Krames Staywell

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