diabetes symptoms in pregnancy: Diabetes is a serious disease in which your body cannot properly control the amount of sugar in your blood because it does not have enough insulin.

Diabetes during pregnancy, also called gestational diabetes, is the most common medical complication, representing 3.3% of all live births. No matter what type of diabetes you have, there are several steps you and your healthcare team can take to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is first diagnosed during pregnancy. Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and the health of your baby.

All expectant mothers will be tested for gestational diabetes at some point during their pregnancy. Mothers who are over the age of 35, are overweight, or have a family history of diabetes may be tested earlier and more often.

diabetes symptoms in pregnancy
Controlling blood sugar can help you and your baby stay healthy and prevent a difficult delivery. Free My Fatal Life App: iOS, Android. This includes food recommendations, kick counters, blood glucose tracking, and more.

What is diabetes?

There are two primary types of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes – the body does not produce insulin. diabetes symptoms in pregnancy The body breaks down the carbohydrates you eat into blood sugar which it uses for energy. And insulin is a hormone that the body needs to transport glucose from the bloodstream to the body’s cells.

With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, everyone can learn to manage their condition and live a longer, healthier life. Symptoms of type 1 can include increased thirst and urination, frequent hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme tiredness.

The CDC estimates that approximately 1.6 million Americans have, diabetes symptoms in pregnancy including about 187,000 children and teens. Type 1 diabetes occurs at all ages and in people of all races, shapes, and sizes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and it means that your body does not use insulin properly. And while some people can control their blood sugar level with healthy eating and exercise, others may need medication or insulin to help manage it.

Symptoms of type 2 include bladder or kidney infections that heal slowly, increased thirst and urination, frequent hunger, and fatigue.

This form of diabetes is often associated with older age, obesity, family history, diabetes symptoms in pregnancy previous history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity, and maybe more prevalent in certain ethnic groups. Type 2 is responsible for approximately 90–95% of diabetes cases in the United States.

How is pre-existing diabetes treated during my pregnancy?

Whether you are trying to conceive or are already pregnant, treating diabetes during pregnancy is important for the health of both you and your baby.

Take the time to build your health care team and create a care plan to manage your blood sugar levels. Frequent contact with your health care provider is essential to managing blood sugar levels and monitoring your and your baby’s health.

Talk to your health care provider or dietitian to develop a healthy eating plan. Prioritizing proper nutrition will help control your blood sugar before and after conception.

Tell your doctor about any medications you are currently taking for diabetes, or any other health conditions so that you can take the safest medicine during pregnancy.

Make an appointment with suitable high-risk specialists. Specialists may include a perinatologist who treats women with high-risk pregnancies and an endocrinologist who treats women with diabetes and other health conditions.

Be physically active. You want to be in your best physical condition during your pregnancy.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

diabetes symptoms in pregnancy: Gestational diabetes is a temporary (in most cases) form of diabetes in which the body does not produce enough insulin to control sugar during pregnancy.

It may also be called glucose intolerance or carbohydrate intolerance. In women with gestational diabetes, blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery. But if you have gestational diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You will need to be tested more often for changes in blood sugar.


For most women, gestational diabetes does not cause noticeable signs or symptoms. But symptoms include:

  • Sugar in the urine (detected by a test done at your doctor’s office)
  • abnormal thirst
  • frequent urination
  • fatigue
  • Getting nausea
  • Frequent vaginal, bladder, and skin infections
  • blurred vision

Who gets gestational diabetes, and why do I need a test?

About 2-5% of pregnant women have gestational diabetes; This number can rise to 7-9% of mothers who are more likely to have risk factors. The diagnosis for this disease is usually done between the 24th and 28th week of your pregnancy.

Doctors test for gestational diabetes during this time because the placenta is producing large amounts of hormones that can cause insulin resistance. diabetes symptoms in pregnancy If the results indicate elevated levels, further tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis of gestational diabetes.

What should I expect during my test?

During your prenatal visit, your doctor will give you a sweet (but not necessarily flavored) liquid to drink an hour before your blood is taken. This may make you a little nauseous. The results will indicate whether you are producing enough insulin.

What Are the Risk Factors?

  • overweight and obesity
  • lack of physical activity
  • previous gestational diabetes or prediabetes
  • polycystic ovary syndrome
  • diabetes in an immediate family member
  • first giving birth to a baby who weighs more than 9 pounds
  • Ethnicity – Women who are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian American have a higher risk of
  • developing gestational diabetes.

What is the treatment?

  • The primary means of treating gestational diabetes is to control your blood sugar levels.
  • self-monitoring of blood sugar levels
  • Insulin therapy, if necessary
  • diet and exercise management

How can I prevent gestational diabetes?

diabetes symptoms in pregnancy There are no guarantees when it comes to prevention, but the more healthy habits you can adopt before pregnancy, the better. If you have gestational diabetes, these healthy choices can reduce your risk of future pregnancies or developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Eat healthy foods – Choose foods high in fiber and low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without compromising on taste or nutrition. See portion sizes.

Be active – Exercising before and during pregnancy can help protect you from developing gestational diabetes. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week. Take a brisk walk daily. ride your bike. Swim lap. Small bursts of activity — like parking away from the store while you drive to errands or taking a short break — all add up, too.

Start pregnancy at a healthy weight – If you are planning to become pregnant, losing excess weight beforehand can help you have a healthy pregnancy. Focus on making permanent changes to your eating habits that can help you during pregnancy, such as eating more vegetables and fruits.

Do not gain more weight than is recommended – some weight gain during pregnancy is normal and healthy. But gaining too much weight too quickly can increase the risk of gestational diabetes. Ask your doctor what an appropriate amount of weight is for you.

Is there anything I should be afraid of?

If gestational diabetes is diagnosed and treated effectively, there is a very low risk of complications. In such cases, women with gestational diabetes can have healthy babies, and diabetes should disappear after delivery.

However, if it is left untreated, the effects on the mother and baby can include:

Large birth weight – Those who weigh 9 pounds or more are more likely to get stuck in the birth canal, have an injury at birth, or need a cesarean delivery.

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Premature delivery – Premature delivery may be recommended as the baby is older.

Respiratory distress syndrome – Babies born early to mothers with gestational diabetes may experience severe breathing difficulties.

Low blood sugar – sometimes babies of mothers with gestational diabetes have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) soon after birth. Severe episodes of hypoglycemia can cause seizures in the child. Prompt feeding and sometimes an intravenous glucose solution can normalize the baby’s blood sugar level.

Obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. Mothers who have gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.

dead birth. Untreated gestational diabetes can result in the death of the baby before or soon after birth.

Complications that can affect you

If you have gestational diabetes, you are more likely to get it again during a future pregnancy. As you get older, you also have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The test may be done a few months after delivery to make sure your blood sugar level has returned to normal. Talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms of type II diabetes.

Diabetes Symptoms In Pregnancy

Who is at risk of gestational diabetes?

Any woman can get gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but you are at increased risk if:

  • Your body mass index (BMI) is above 30 – use a healthy weight calculator to find your BMI
  • you have previously had a baby who weighed 4.5kg (10lb) or more at birth
  • you had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
  • 1 of your parents or siblings has diabetes
  • You are of South Asian, Black, Afro-Caribbean, or Middle Eastern descent (even if you were born in the UK)
  • If any of these apply to you, you should be offered screening for gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
  • How gestational diabetes can affect your pregnancy
  • Most women with gestational diabetes have normal pregnancies with healthy babies.

However, gestational diabetes can cause problems such as:

  • your baby is growing larger than normal – this can cause difficulties during delivery and increase the chances of induced labor or the need for a cesarean section
  • polyhydramnios – too much amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the baby) in the womb, which can cause
  • problems with premature labor or delivery
  • Premature birth – giving birth before the 37th week of pregnancy
  • Pre-eclampsia – a condition that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy and can lead to pregnancy complications if left untreated
  • Your baby is developing low blood sugar or yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) after birth, which may require hospital treatment
  • Loss of your baby (stillbirth) – although this is rare
  • Having gestational diabetes also means that you have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

screening for gestational diabetes

During your first prenatal visit (also called booking appointment) at about 8 to 12 weeks of your pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will ask you some questions to determine if you are at increased risk of gestational diabetes.

If you have 1 or more risk factors for gestational diabetes, you should be offered a screening test.

The screening test is called the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT), which takes about 2 hours.

This involves taking a blood test in the morning after you haven’t eaten or drunk anything for 8 to 10 hours (although you can usually drink water, check with a hospital if you’re unsure). You are then given a glucose drink.

After 2 hours of rest, another blood sample is taken to see how your body is dealing with the glucose.

The OGTT is performed when you are 24 to 28 weeks pregnant.


If you have had gestational diabetes before, you will be offered an OGTT earlier in pregnancy, soon after your booking appointment, then another OGTT at 24 to 28 weeks if the first test is normal.


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