I have often heard, “I don’t need to be tested for gestational diabetes (GDM) because I’m healthy and I don’t feel bad.” Truth is, usually there are no symptoms, but if symptoms are there, it can be confusing. Some symptoms include feeling tired, feeling thirsty, urinating frequently, feeling hungry…but hey, “Aren’t these just normal pregnancy discomforts?” Who knows? You could have it and not know it.

The evidence tells us there are some factors that increase the likelihood of developing GDM. Some of those risk factors include:

  1. Age 25 or greater
  2. Overweight (Body mass index [BMI] greater than 30)
  3. Excess weight gain during pregnancy
  4. Previous baby weighing 9 pounds or greater
  5. Prior history of GDM
  6. History of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  7. Having a 1st degree relative (mother, father, brother, sister) with diabetes
  8. Certain ethnic groups: Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans; Asian; Pacific Islanders; Middle Easterners

“So, what can happen if I do have gestational diabetes?”

For the Baby:

  • Having a very large baby (baby weighing 9 pounds or more)
  • Premature birth
  • Stillbirth
  • After birth, the baby is at higher risk for breathing problems, low blood sugar, feeding problems, jaundice, and for developing diabetes later in life

For You:

  • Preterm labor
  • Increased need for C-Section
  • Developing pre-eclampsia during the pregnancy
  • Developing diabetes later in life

“So, how and when do I get screened, and do I have any options for screening?”

Stay tuned for a future post about screening and options….