Gestational diabetes affects roughly 3% of pregnant women and, when it occurs, needs to be carefully managed and monitored. It generally develops at the end of the second trimester and goes away after the baby is born. Women who have gestational diabetes may be at risk for diabetes later in life, so health promotion practices to minimize high blood glucose levels should continue after delivery.
Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause your baby to be born with low blood sugar, or at a weight much higher than normal. This may increase a woman’s need to have a caesarean section. Gestational diabetes also increases a woman's risk of developing preeclampsia, which can cause dangerously high blood pressure.
Routine pre-natal testing at Rutland Regional Medical Center includes a gestational diabetes screening performed at the beginning of the third trimester. The screen involves drinking a special glucose drink and having your blood sugar levels measured one hour later. If an abnormally high blood sugar level is present, a second, longer glucose test may be performed a few days later. If the second test also shows a high blood sugar level, the woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes and then carefully monitored for the duration of her pregnancy. In most instances, diet changes can keep the condition under control. In some instances, insulin injections are needed.