Gestational diabetes in pregnancy
Gestational diabetes usually develops in the third trimester of pregnancy. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can cause problems including affecting your baby's growth, increasing the risk of placenta abruption, (where the placenta comes away from the womb), and premature birth.
At a glance
- Gestational diabetes happens when there is too much glucose in your blood
- It often doesn't have any noticeable symptoms
- Women are offered a test between 24 weeks and 28 weeks of pregnancy but it may be picked up sooner
The condition is more likely to affect women with a BMI of 30 or over, those who have previously had bigger babies (weighing 10lbs or more), as well as mums-to-be who have a family history of diabetes.
Why do some women develop diabetes in pregnancy?
Gestational diabetes happens when there is too much glucose in your blood. The hormone insulin usually controls the amount of sugar in your blood, but during pregnancy, you will have higher levels of glucose in your body, but will not always produce enough insulin to deal with it.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
Often, gestational diabetes doesn't have any noticeable symptoms, and will only come to light during routine screening, however, constantly feeling thirsty, needed to wee often, having a dry mouth, tiredness, blurred vision and frequent outbreaks of infections like thrush can all be signs.
Women are offered a test called the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) for gestational diabetes between 24 weeks and 28 weeks of pregnancy, however, it might be picked up before this via your regular urine checks at your ante-natal appointments.
Treatments for diabetes in pregnancy
If you are found to have gestational diabetes, your doctor will decide if it can be kept under control just with diet and exercise, or if your need to take drugs to sort it out. They will also advise you on keeping check on your blood glucose levels, and the readings you should be aiming for.
Gestational diabetes usually disappears once the baby is born, although women who have had it are more likely to get type 2 diabetes later in life.
The Diabetic Association can offer advice and support to women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.