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You’ve heard of other expectant moms who’ve failed the test. Will it be you too? Gestational diabetes (GDM), which the International Diabetes Foundation says affects 1 in 7 births, is a form of diabetes that develops in women for the first time during pregnancy.
Very much like type 2 diabetes, it happens when your body does not make enough insulin, or can’t use insulin well, to regulate blood glucose (sugar) levels. Essentially, you end up with too much sugar in your blood.
Gestational diabetes can cause fear, disappointment and confusion during pregnancy. Before you panic, know that if you develop it, it’s not your fault! Also, it’s not the diabetes that can cause long-term complications for you and your baby, but rather uncontrolled high blood glucose levels — which your doctor can help you manage.
Now let’s address some more questions about gestational diabetes:
Too much glucose in the blood can cause macrosomia, a condition in which your baby grows too big, which may result in shoulder damage during birth. GDM can also cause health complications for your baby after birth, including breathing problems, low blood sugar, jaundice, and a higher likelihood of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Here are some other ways to help lower your risk of gestational diabetes:
Despite living healthy, eating right and exercising regularly, some women still develop gestational diabetes, and type 2 diabetes later in life. It happens. If it does, you and your healthcare team can work together to manage it and make a healthy start for you and your baby.
Learn more about pregnancy and baby services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
Edward-Elmhurst Health offers small group classes for women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Learn more about diabetes services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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