Gestational Diabetes and Why It Occurs

Pregnancy can have unending body changes to your body and like many moms, you would be curious to But it is a beautiful journey with worthy rewards. Gestational diabetes happens only during pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if a woman has never had diabetes before. Let’s talk more about what is gestational diabetes. 

About Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes happens when the blood glucose levels increase. An expectant mother is diagnosed with it if they had normal levels before pregnancy. The good news is that it can be managed and doesn’t affect the health of your unborn baby. You, however, need the help of your doctor to control your blood glucose levels. Gestational diabetes usually disappears as soon as you give birth. 

What Causes It?

The placenta produces hormones that can result in the build-up of glucose in your blood. In most cases, the pancreas creates enough insulin to handle it. The alternative is the development of gestational diabetes. Other reasons that can lead to its development are:-

  • Age – women at 25 years and below are at higher risk
  • You were overweight prior to being pregnant
  • You have high levels of blood sugar (not diabetes)
  • A family history of diabetes
  • You’ve had gestational diabetes before
  • You gave birth to a baby that was over 9 pounds before
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have given birth to a child with birth defects or a stillborn


Gestational diabetes normally occurs during the second trimester, between 24 and 28 weeks. Most doctors in private hospitals will check for it at this time. 

To test it, you will need to ingest a sugary beverage. This will increase your blood sugar levels. After an hour, a blood test will indicate how your body handled the sugar. The levels will be compared to the cut off level of about 130mg/dL. From here, the doctor can request for more testing following a fasting period. 

Public hospitals monitor your sugar levels through a urine test conducted on every antenatal visit. Once detected, further tests are taken to verify it. 


The most effective treatment for the gestational period is maintaining your blood glucose level. There are other ways you can control it. These are:

  • Check what you eat – create a meal plan that helps you control your blood sugar by consulting your doctor. 
  • Exercise – it helps your body reduce the sugar levels
  • Medication – Take your medication as prescribed if advised by your doctor

Labour and Birth

Managing your blood glucose will mean that your baby will need to be at an appropriate weight range. The doctor will check the baby’s size to ensure that you can deliver vaginally. unless you choose an elective caesarean. Your team will check your blood sugar throughout that time. This is necessary because an increase in blood sugar may cause the baby to develop hypoglycemia (low blood glucose). 


#Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

#Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: webmd, endocrineweb, healthline

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