Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
During pregnancy, significant hormonal changes can lead to insulin resistance and the body is unable to produce and use the insulin needed for pregnancy. Insufficient insulin will lead to elevation of blood glucose level or hyperglycemia. Diabetes happens during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes will usually go away after the baby is delivered. However, 25%-50% of gestational diabetes patients will later have type 2 diabetes, especially for those who need insulin medication during pregnancy and those who are still overweight after delivery.
Gestational diabetes usually doesn’t have noticeable signs or symptoms. It is rarely caused increased thirst or urination. Therefore, pregnant women are always required to undergo glucose-screening test at 24 to 28 weeks. If the result is positive, she will need to take a follow-up (or GTT) to find out if she has gestational diabetes.
Any pregnant women can have gestational diabetes. However, according to the American Diabetes Association, a woman is considered at higher risk for gestational diabetes and requires early screening if she has certain risk factors. Among the main risk factors are being obese (BMI>30), used to have gestational diabetes in previous pregnancy, have close relatives with a strong history of diabetes and sugar is found in the urine. Other risk factors may include her age is over 35 year-old, have high blood pressure, used to have an unexplained stillbirth, baby with a birth defect or used to give birth to a big baby (>8lbs 13ozs or 4kgs).
Patients with gestational diabetes are usually required to perform a glucose tolerance test after about six weeks post delivery to determine if their diabetes still persists beyond their pregnancy. If there is any evidence present, such as impaired glucose tolerance, that may be a hint that the patient will develop type 2 diabetes in future.
- American Diabetes Association, Alexandria VA, Gestational Diabetes. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/
- MedicineNet, Ruchi Mathur, MD, Diabetes Mellitus. http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_mellitus/article.htm
- BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board, Gestational Diabetes, July 2010. http://www.babycenter.com/0_gestational-diabetes_2058.bc
- MayoClinic, Gestational diabetes-Symptoms, March 28 2009. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gestational-diabetes/DS00316/DSECTION=symptoms
This page was last modified on: July 30, 2012