What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs when women who have never had diabetes before develop an impaired ability to process glucose during pregnancy, resulting in high blood sugar. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are at greater risk for developing gestational diabetes, or GD.

High blood glucose associated with gestational diabetes can lead to complications including a high birth weight, preterm birth, respiratory issues at birth, low blood sugar, and jaundice.

It can also cause problems for the mother and child at delivery.

Fortunately, a carefully balanced diet — with or without medication — can help manage blood sugar levels and prevent complications.

Risk Factors and Symptoms

Women who are older than 25, have had gestational diabetes with prior pregnancies, who are overweight, who have prediabetes, or who have close family members who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk for developing gestational diabetes. Women with PCOS are a part of that group because of the association with insulin resistance and prediabetes.

Most women don’t experience any symptoms of gestational diabetes, though very rarely, they may notice excessive thirst and urination.

While the condition usually resolves after giving birth, a woman with gestational diabetes is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

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