Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes found in pregnant women. It occurs when the pregnant woman's body cannot produce enough insulin, resulting in high blood sugar. Gestational diabetes affects an estimated two to three percent of pregnant women.

Risk factors for diabetes include

  • a family history of type II (adult-onset) diabetes
  • maternal age - a woman's risk factor increases the older she is
  • ethnic background (those with higher risk factors include African-Americans, North American native peoples and Hispanics)
  • obesity
  • gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
  • a previous pegnancy that resulted in a child with a birth weight of 9 pounds or more

Symptoms

Frequently women with gestational diabetes exhibit no symptoms. However, possible symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, bladder and yeast infection, and blurred vision.

Testing and treatment

Generally a test for gestational diabetes is carried out between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

Often, gestational diabetes can be managed through a combination of diet and exercise. If that is not possible, it is treated with insulin, in a similar manner to diabetes mellitus.

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