Gestational diabetes is a high blood sugar condition that occurs during pregnancy. This could happen in as high as 9.2% of pregnancies. With pregnancy, the placenta produces large amounts of hormones that could cause insulin resistance. This results in a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. As pregnancy progresses, the placenta will begin to release more of the hormone that works against insulin. This causes the pancreas to work overtime to make 3 times more insulin than usual in order to keep the blood sugar level steady.
Gestational diabetes develops when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin for pregnancy. Without adequate insulin, excess sugar builds up in the bloodstream. This type of diabetes is detected by receiving glucose screening test in mid-pregnancy between the 24 and 28-week prenatal visit. It is important to remember that when detected and treated, complications can be managed so that expectant mothers can deliver healthy babies.
Pregnant women should start regular glucose screening test earlier if they have any health concerns. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), expectant mothers are at high risk for gestational diabetes if they fall into any of the following risk groups:
Pregnant women who have high blood glucose levels during screening are given a glucose tolerance test.