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Diabetes During Pregnancy

Diabetes during pregnancy, also known as gestational diabetes, occurs in approximately 18 percent of all pregnancies, typically during the second and third trimesters. The cause may be explained by the placental hormones that block the body's use of insulin, which is also a form of insulin resistance.

All pregnant women need to make extra insulin to overcome this temporary insulin resistance, and it usually disappears after giving birth. Treatment of diabetes during pregnancy includes monitoring blood sugar, food and exercise as tolerated and allowed, in addition to pills or insulin as needed.

Gestational Diabetes

  • Age 25 or older
  • Have a parent who has diabetes
  • Are overweight, especially if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher
  • Have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Have a pre-existing medical condition that makes diabetes likely, such as glucose intolerance
  • Take medications like glucocorticoids (for asthma or an autoimmune disease), or beta-blockers (for high blood pressure or a rapid heart rate)
  • Personal history of gestational diabetes
  • Previously had a larger than average baby (9lbs+)+
  • African American, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander descent 
  • During pregnancy, usually at around 24-28 weeks or later many women learn that they have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes does not mean that you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have diabetes after giving birth. But it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while you’re pregnant, so you and your baby both remain healthy