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Gestational Diabetes - Causes, symptoms and tests

Gestational Diabetes - Causes, symptoms and tests

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy (especially during third trimester of pregnancy). Gestational diabetes is caused when the body of a pregnant woman does not secrete excess insulin required during pregnancy leading to increased blood sugar levels. It is present in 3-4 % of pregnancies.

Causes: Pregnancy hormones can block insulin from doing its job. When this happens, glucose levels may increase in a pregnant woman's blood. You are at greater risk for gestational diabetes if you:
• Are older than 30 when you are pregnant
• Have a family history of diabetes
• Gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 4 kgs or had a birth defect
• Have sugar (glucose) in your urine when you see your doctor for a regular prenatal visit
• Have high blood pressure
• Have too much amniotic fluid
• Have had an unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth
• Were overweight before your pregnancy

Symptoms: Usually there are no symptoms, or the symptoms are mild and not life threatening to the pregnant woman. Often, the blood sugar (glucose) level returns to normal after delivery. Symptoms may include blurred vision, fatigue, frequents infections of bladders, vagina and skin, increased thirst, increased urination, nausea, vomiting and weight loss in spite of increased appetite.

Signs and tests: Gestational diabetes usually starts halfway through the pregnancy. All pregnant women should receive an oral glucose tolerance test between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy to screen for the condition. Women who have risk factors for gestational diabetes may have this test earlier in the pregnancy.

Coming up next: Gestational diabetes - Treatment, Complication and prevention

Reference:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestational_diabetes
2. http://www.diabetesindia.com/diabetes/site_consensus_diagnosis.htm
3. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov