Gestational diabetes is a maternal condition that only happens during pregnancy. Women who have diabetes in pregnancy have higher than normal blood sugar levels, which can cause complications for the mother and baby. Treatment is necessary for a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Highly skilled maternal-fetal medicine experts in our birth centers offer exceptional care for gestational diabetes in Southern California. Use our helpful Find a Doctor tool to meet with a specialist at any of our convenient locations in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and San Bernardino.
Screening for Diabetes in Pregnancy at Dignity Health Southern California Hospitals
Since there are few noticeable symptoms of gestational diabetes, we use a blood test to routinely screen for it. If your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, your doctor will order other tests to confirm the diagnosis.
What Causes Gestational Diabetes?
Pregnancy increases the demand for insulin, a hormone that keeps blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Diabetes in pregnancy occurs when your body can’t make enough insulin to keep up with demand. Certain genetic and pre-existing conditions increase the risk of a woman developing diabetes in pregnancy.
Risk factors include:
- Personal history of diabetes in pregnancy
- History of prediabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome
- Obesity and being overweight
- Previous birth of a heavy baby (weighing more than nine pounds)
- Family history of diabetes
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes
Doctors consider a pregnant woman with diabetes a high-risk pregnancy. It can cause preterm birth, difficult delivery, and poor health for the baby at birth.
Dignity Health Southern California’s obstetrical care team and nutritionists will help you plan a gestational diabetes diet to control your blood sugar levels. Dietary changes and an increase in physical activity can often manage the condition, but some women need to take oral medication or rely on insulin injections to control blood sugar levels. Our team will be there to help you every step of the way.
Gestational Diabetes Prevention
A healthy weight, in combination with regular physical activity, helps your body use insulin and prevent diabetes. If you are overweight, losing excess weight before you become pregnant and increasing your physical activity will lower your risk of diabetes during your pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes goes away after birth, but your doctor may want to screen you for diabetes at regular intervals. Please reach out to Dignity Health Southern California today for ongoing medical care and disease prevention for your entire family.
Experienced obstetricians at Dignity Health provide expert care for gestational diabetes in Southern California.