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What Is Gestational Diabetes? Here's All You Need To Know

Gestational diabetes can lead to many health issues in women during and after pregnancy. Read here to find out more.

What Is Gestational Diabetes? Heres All You Need To Know

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy
  2. Women who develop GD do not have the disease before pregnancy
  3. This condition needs to be managed well during pregnancy

Gestational diabetes (GD) is a common pregnancy-related complication that affects many women. In India, the risk of gestational diabetes is common, with around 1.3% of pregnant women having the disease. The risk of GD increases with age, with about 2.4% of women aged above 35 having the disease. Considering the number of risks, gestational diabetes is a serious problem that can create issues during labour and delivery and in a woman's later life.

Know about gestational diabetes

When a woman develops diabetes or high blood sugar levels for the first time during pregnancy, it's called gestational diabetes. Though the condition resolves on its own after the baby's birth, the health risks and negative consequences it has for the mother and the baby make it a serious problem.


While the exact cause of diabetes during pregnancy remains unclear, doctors say that it is the hormonal changes during pregnancy that can make it hard for the body to harness and synthesize insulin. This is something that occurs when one has type-2 diabetes as well.

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Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy
Photo Credit: iStock

A woman usually comes to know about Gestational diabetes around the 22nd or the 24th week of the pregnancy when the levels of the hormone called human placental lactogen (HPL) are the highest. Having gestational diabetes increases the chances of a woman having a caesarean delivery, stillbirth, and developing high blood pressure during pregnancy or Type-2 diabetes in the later stages of life.

Also read: Gestational Diabetes May Up Kidney Damage Risk, Says New Study

Gestational diabetes displays no major signs, but women can experience numerous symptoms, including excessive thirst, skin infections, nausea, fatigue and frequent urination. Some factors which can put women at risk of having gestational diabetes are as follows:

  • A late pregnancy (after the age of 35 years)
  • Having a family history with diabetes or other underlying medical conditions
  • High body weight during pregnancy

Also read: Diabetes, One Of The Fastest Growing Diseases Of The Decade

What is the treatment?

Gestational diabetes is a temporary problem that usually goes away once the baby is born. However, it is a preventable condition with some measures. Here are some steps pregnant women can take:

  • Follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly
  • Keep a check on your blood sugar
  • Maintain a healthy weight

Also read: 3 Simple Steps To Prevent Gestational Diabetes

Remember, most women who develop gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, particularly when their condition is identified on time and properly managed by consulting an expert!

(Dr. Manjunatha Malige is an Endocrinologist at Aster Hospital, Bangalore)


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