Causes of Gestational Diabetes

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 22, 2012

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Pregnant womanA woman, who doesn’t have diabetes, but suddenly develops the disease during pregnancy is said to have Gestational Diabetes. It is a very common problem faced by a pregnant woman mostly in her third trimester. Gestational diabetes is a threat to both mother and child.

Woman’s hormonal level varies during pregnancy and this in turn affects the insulin production in the body. During pregnancy the eating habits of a woman changes. Her calorie intake increases. So, more amount of insulin is required to convert glucose into energy, but her body is not able to fulfil this increased demand causing gestational diabetes.

Female sex hormones, cortisol and progesterone play a major role in hampering the insulin production. Also, due to the secretion of high growth hormone during pregnancy, insulin production gets affected.

Apart from low insulin production, many other factors are also responsible for gestational diabetes.

  • If the woman is overweight or she is suffering from obesity, there are chances that she can develop gestational diabetes.
  • If there is anyone in the family who has diabetes, the woman can develop diabetes during pregnancy.
  • If a woman has earlier given birth to a baby whose weight is approx 4kg or more (over-weight baby), she is at risk.
  • A woman who gets pregnant at an older age (35years and above),  tend to get diabetes.
  • If a woman detects sugar in her urine, chances are that she can have gestational diabetes.
  • A pregnant woman suffering from hypertension too is under the risk of gestational diabetes occurrence.
  • Sometimes a woman is not obese, but she gains few kilos during pregnancy. This also increases her chance of getting diabetes, but this is very rare.

Usually symptoms of gestational diabetes are not visible in all pregnant women. So, all pregnant women are always advised to undergo medical examination for diabetes during their third trimester pregnancy. Sometimes the exact reason of gestational diabetes cannot be identified. This may be due to genetic mutation caused by the exposure of harmful radiations during pregnancy.

By following a well planned diet accompanied with exercise and regular check up, one can help a high risk woman avoid gestational diabetes. Some researchers believe that breastfeeding can lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes in the next pregnancy.


Read more articles on Gestational Diabetes.


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