Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes that affects women during pregnancy. Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Normally, the amount of glucose in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin. However, during pregnancy, some women have higher than normal levels of glucose in their blood and their body cannot produce enough insulin to transport it all into the cells. This means that the level of glucose in the blood rises.
There are many risk factors of developing gestational diabetes, such as overweight, family history of diabetes, past history of having large baby or GDM, polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or heart disease & age older than 25 years.
Gestational diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise. However, some women with gestational diabetes will need medication to control blood glucose levels.
If gestational diabetes is not detected and controlled, it can increase the risk of birth complications, such as babies being large for their gestational age (Macrosomia), premature birth and miscarriages.
In most cases, gestational diabetes develops in the third trimester (after 28 weeks) and usually disappears after the baby is born. However, women who develop gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. For that reason, regular visits to your physician during pregnancy & 6 weeks after giving birth are recommended.
Dr. Hecham Harb
Endocrinology Metabolism & Internal Medicine Consultant
Bahrain Specialist Hospital