High blood sugar during pregnancy may lead to gestational diabetes mellitus. The Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) shares more.
It is common for blood sugar to rise during pregnancy because of hormonal changes. But if your high blood sugar persists, you could develop gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
What is gestational diabetes?
The excess blood sugar in the body can harm both the mother and the baby. Gestational diabetes occurs because the body does not produce enough insulin, a hormone which controls blood sugar level. During pregnancy, the placenta produces a number of hormones, some of which may impair the production and function of insulin.
“Usually, gestational diabetes develops after the 20th week of pregnancy,” says the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology,
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the
SingHealth group. “In most cases, it disappears after the delivery of the baby.”
Risk factors for gestational diabetes
It is not clear why some pregnant women develop gestational diabetes and others don’t. Your risk for developing gestational diabetes increases if you:
Are over the age of 25 when you become pregnant
Are overweight before you become pregnant
Have pre-diabetes before you become pregnant
Have a family history of diabetes
Have high blood pressure
Had a previous pregnancy in which you:
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
Typically, women with gestational diabetes display no symptoms. Their raised blood sugar level is likely to be discovered during a routine prenatal checkup. However, in some cases, the following symptoms may be present:
Diagnosis of gestational diabetes
Pregnant women who are at high risk for gestational diabetes are likely to be given an oral glucose tolerance test early in their pregnancy, possibly during the first prenatal visit, to screen for diabetes. For other women, the test is usually given between weeks 24 to 28 in their pregnancy.