Diabetes and pregnancy

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Because of hormonal and metabolic (met-uh-BOL-ic) changes during pregnancy, some women with no previous history will develop diabetes during pregnancy. This is called gestational (gess-TAY-shun-ul) diabetes. The condition occurs more frequently in women who are overweight, have a history of large babies or stillbirths, or are over age 35. Prenatal screening by a physician can detect this problem, typically through a simple glucose test. A second test may be used to confirm a positive result. To control the condition, doctors may put the patient on a restricted diet, while monitoring blood sugar. Most cases of gestational diabetes disappear within six weeks after the birth of the baby. These women won't need to take insulin to control their blood-sugar levels. However, a few may develop permanent diabetes, and require medication. In general, mothers with not well- controlled gestational diabetes tend to have larger babies, more difficult births, and a higher incidence of birth trauma. Their chance of needing a cesarean section may also increase. For more information on gestational diabetes, contact a health care professional.

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