Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition in which high blood sugar develops in women for the first time during pregnancy, because the body cannot produce enough insulin – a hormone that controls blood sugar levels – to meet the needs of pregnancy.
Pregnancy increases the risk of developing diabetes because of placental hormones. These placental hormones increase glucose levels and the body’s resistance to insulin. This condition can occur in nearly a quarter of pregnant women.
GDM usually starts in the second or third trimester and usually disappears after delivery.
If well-controlled, most women diagnosed with GDM will have normal pregnancies and babies. However, if not well-controlled, GDM has potential risks for both mother and baby. These risks are illustrated in the table below.
It is therefore important to diagnose and treat GDM optimally to reduce the above risks.
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