Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus


Diabetes refers to an increase in sugar levels. When the onset of diabetes happens during pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes. Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes have no previous medical history of diabetes.

Signs and Symptoms

There are no obvious signs for gestational diabetes. It is usually discovered during the blood tests that happen during pregnancy. However, women can watch out for the following signs:

  • An urge to urinate often
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive hunger

Causes and Risk Factors

Normally, the pancreas produces insulin whose function is to move the glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells. In women with gestational diabetes, the hormones produced during pregnancy increase the glucose in the blood. Usually, the pancreas will produce more insulin to counter this. But, if it does not or if the insulin does not do its function effectively, it causes an increase in sugar leading to gestational diabetes.

Risk factors include:

  • Being obese/overweight
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Hypertension, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes or PCOS
  • The mother being more than 25 years of age
  • Previous miscarriage


  • Possibility of developing type 2 diabetes later
  • Baby might be still born
  • Baby might be big


Glucose tolerance test: During the test, the mother will have to consume a sweet drink with 50 gm of glucose in it. The sugar level will be tested in an hour. If the level is higher than normal, the doctor will provide guidance on treatment.


  • A healthy diet (low in sugar)
  • Regular exercise
  • Monitoring of blood sugar 4 times a day
  • Testing for ketones which can give an idea of whether blood sugar is under control
  • Insulin and other medication


  • Starting off pregnancy with the ideal weight
  • Following a healthy lifestyle – nutritious diet and regular exercise

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