Gestational diabetes only happens during pregnancy. The placenta makes hormones that can create a buildup of sugar in your blood. Most of the time, your pancreas makes enough of the hormone insulin to help control this issue. If not, higher blood sugar levels may cause gestational diabetes. It’s usually a temporary condition that, but left untreated, it can affect the health of both mother and baby.
If you’re pregnant, it’s a good idea to contact your prenatal doctor or one of our board-certified endocrinologists and have your glucose tested.
About Gestational Diabetes
There are no outward symptoms of gestational diabetes, but there are a number of factors that can put you at risk:
- You are over 25 years old
- Diabetes runs in your family
- You were overweight before you got pregnant
- Your blood sugars are high but you don’t have diabetes
- You had gestational diabetes in the past
- You are African American, Native American, Asian American or Hispanic
Gestational diabetes happens during the first three months of pregnancy, so it’s vital that you and your doctor begin monitoring your glucose as early in the pregnancy as possible. Like other types of diabetes, diagnosing gestational diabetes involves one of several simple and painless blood tests.
Ensuring Your Healthiest Pregnancy
The best way to avoid gestational diabetes is to be as healthy as possible before you get pregnant, including being at a healthy weight.
If you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your team at Central Maine Healthcare — including your prenatal doctor, an endocrinologist, a dietitian and a diabetes educator—will work with you to get it under control.
For most new mothers, glucose levels return to normal very soon after delivery—however, having gestational diabetes puts you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. As a precaution, your team will check your glucose levels right after you deliver your baby, and again in six weeks to make sure they’re still in the “normal” range and you aren’t developing prediabetes.