What is Gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is diagnosed when higher than normal blood glucose levels first appear during pregnancy. Between 3 and 8% of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy, however, some may be earlier. Pregnant women need two or three times more insulin than normal. If the body is unable to produce this much insulin, gestational diabetes develops.
If gestational diabetes is not looked after it may result in problems such as a large baby, miscarriage and stillbirth. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
There are three basic components in effectively managing gestational diabetes:
- monitoring blood glucose levels
- adopting a healthy eating pattern
- physical activity
For some women, insulin injections maybe required to help manage their gestational diabetes.
What causes it?
While there is no one reason for why women develop gestational diabetes, you are at a greater risk if you:
- Are over 30 years of age
- Have a family history of Type 2 diabetes
- Are overweight or obese
- Are from an Indigenous Australian or Torres Strait Islander background
- Are from a Vietnamese, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Polynesian or Melanesian background
- Have previously had gestational diabetes
- Have previously had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- You have previously given birth to a large baby
- Have a family history of gestational diabetes