Most women who have gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies, especially when they keep their blood sugar under control, eat a healthy diet, get regular, moderate physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight. In some cases, though, the condition can affect the pregnancy.
Keeping glucose levels under control may prevent certain problems related to gestational diabetes.
Below are some conditions that can result from your having gestational diabetes. Keep in mind that just because you have gestational diabetes does not mean that these problems will occur.
Gestational diabetes usually does not cause birth defects or deformities. Most developmental or physical defects happen during the first trimester of pregnancy, between the 1st and 8th week. Gestational diabetes typically develops around or after the 24th week of pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes usually have normal blood sugar levels during the first trimester, which allows the body and body systems of the fetus to develop normally.
The fact that you have gestational diabetes will not cause diabetes in your baby. But, your child is at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. As your child grows, things like eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular, moderate physical activity may help to reduce that risk.
If your baby was macrosomic, or large-bodied at birth, then he or she is at higher risk for childhood and adult obesity (being extremely overweight). Large-bodied babies are also at greater risk for getting type 2 diabetes and often get it at an earlier age (younger than 30).
Most women with gestational diabetes can make it to their due dates safely and begin labor naturally. In some cases, though, gestational diabetes could change the way you feel or how your baby is delivered. Again, keep in mind that just because you have gestational diabetes does not mean that you will have any change in delivery. Talk to your health care provider about ANY concerns you have about labor or delivery.
If you have gestational diabetes, there are some things you should keep in mind about delivery:
Once you have the baby, your body should be able to use its insulin more effectively. Shortly after the baby is born, the placenta is "delivered." (This is sometimes called the afterbirth.) Because the placenta causes insulin resistance, when it's gone, gestational diabetes usually goes away, too.
If you have gestational diabetes, you are at higher-than-normal risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in your life. Type 2 diabetes, like gestational diabetes, occurs when the body doesn't use its insulin properly. Keeping your weight within a healthy range and keeping up regular, moderate physical activity after your baby is born can help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Following a healthy diet and physical activity program, maintaining a healthy weight, or taking certain medicines can help people control type 2 diabetes.