is a form of diabetes that begins during pregnancy and usually resolves after the baby is born.
During pregnancy, placental hormones (growth hormone, prolactin, cortisol, placental lactogen, progesterone) are produced that can block the effectiveness of insulin, leading to a relative insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body convert food into energy. Without insulin, glucose from the food you eat cannot enter cells, and glucose builds up in the blood.
In most women, the pancreas increases insulin production enough to offset this resistance. When the pancreas fails to keep pace, gestational diabetes occurs. In addition to causing problems for the mother, the excess glucose in the blood can cross the placenta and cause problems for the baby.
Complications for women with gestational diabetes mellitus include an increased chance of:
Complications affecting the fetus or infant include:
Children whose mothers had gestational diabetes are at higher risk for developing
type 2 diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes, maintaining good control over your glucose levels during pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of complications to you and to your baby.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/. Updated July 11, 2012. Accessed August 17, 2012.
What I need to know about gestational diabetes. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) website. Available at:
http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/gestational/#7. Updated December 6, 2011. Accessed August 17, 2012.
2/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Cheng YW, Chung JH, Kurbisch-Block I, Inturrisi M, Shafer S, Caughey AB. Gestational weight gain and gestational diabetes mellitus: perinatal outcomes.
Hillier TA, Pedula KL, Vesco KK, et al. Excess gestational weight gain: modifying fetal macrosomia risk associated with maternal glucose.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
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