Warning Signs: Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects a small number of pregnant women each year. It starts about halfway through the pregnancy and usually goes away after giving birth. If gestational diabetes does not recede, it becomes type 2 diabetes.

Certain risk factors are associated with gestational diabetes, so you may want to be on the lookout for symptoms of gestational diabetes if these factors apply to you.

What Is It?

Developmental hormones necessary for the baby’s growth may block efficient insulin production in mothers, which raises blood sugar levels. Pregnant women with unusually high blood sugar levels during pregnancy are said to have developed gestational diabetes. The baby often receives higher levels of glucose, raising his or her blood sugar levels as well, and causing him or her to store more fat.

Risk Factors

While this is not a comprehensive list, there are certain factors that increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. These factors include:

  • Mothers over 25
  • Family history of diabetes
  • History of high blood pressure
  • High levels of amniotic fluid
  • Unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Overweight or obese mothers

Symptoms

If you have experienced some of the risk factors for gestational diabetes, it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the common symptoms. Many women see no symptoms at all (or mild symptoms), and their blood glucose levels decrease after giving birth. Symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased appetite

Remember, pregnancy itself causes women to urinate more frequently and to experience an increased appetite, so experiencing these symptoms does not always point directly to gestational diabetes.

Sources: WebMD, New York Times

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