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    Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in Pregnancy

    Written on 5 August 2022

    Gestational diabetes mellitus definition says that it is a condition in which the placenta produces a hormone that prevents the usage of insulin effectively. This condition is also referred to as insulin resistance. Due to this, glucose accumulates in the blood rather than being absorbed by the cells. However, Gestational diabetic symptoms disappear post-delivery.

    Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy

    The first occurrence of gestational diabetes is found at the time of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are high during pregnancy. Though Gestational diabetes goes away after the birth of the baby, it usually has an impact on the baby's health. Approximately 3 to 8 percent of all pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

    Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

    Women with gestational diabetes usually have no symptoms or find out during the pregnancy after a routine check-up.

    Some symptoms include:


    Experiencing extreme fatigue and feeling constantly tired, even after getting enough sleep and proper food.

    Blurred vision:

    High blood glucose attracts fluid from tissues, including the eyes' lenses. This affects the vision.

    Extreme thirst:

    When kidneys cannot function properly, the excess glucose is excreted into the urine along with the fluid in the body and the tissues, resulting in extreme thirst and dehydration.


    Due to high blood sugar levels being elevated for a longer period of time. Eating can make people with GD nauseous, even though they are hungry.

    Frequent bladder, vaginal, or skin infections:

    High levels of blood glucose can lead to poor blood flow and impair the body's natural healing process. In women with GD, bladder and vaginal yeast infections may occur more often and not heal as fast.

    Frequent urination:

    The kidneys remove excess sugar in the bloodstream, and the remaining sugar which is unable to be absorbed by the kidneys is urinated out along with fluid from the tissues. The body then starts feeling dehydrated and thirsty, which leads to more water consumption and, in effect, frequent urination.

    Sugar in the urine:

    During pregnancy, the body requires a lot of energy as the baby grows, but sometimes the production of insulin is not sufficient to keep up with demand. Due to a lack of insulin, levels of sugar are high, and it will show up in the urine. ‌

    What are the Causes of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus?

    Gestational diabetes during pregnancy occurs when enough insulin is not produced by the pancreas of the pregnant woman, and even if it is produced, the body is not able to utilize it properly. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood it's called hyperglycemia. There is an increased demand for insulin at the beginning of pregnancy, causing gestational pregnancy.

    Gestational Diabetes Risk Factors

    Risk factors include:

    • Overweight or obese

    • Physically inactive

    • Polycystic ovary syndrome

    • History of diabetes

    • Having prediabetes

    • Gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy

    How is Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Diagnosed?

    The healthcare provider will perform a blood test. The test includes:

    • Glucose screening test: The healthcare provider will ask you to take a sweet drink. After an hour, a blood sample is taken to check blood sugar levels. If there is an increase in blood sugar, there will be another test, known as the glucose tolerance test.

    • Glucose tolerance test: This test measures glucose levels in the body after a fast of nine hours. Then the second blood sample is drawn after taking the sweet drink and checked for glucose every hour for three hours. If the glucose readings are higher than expected, the diagnosis confirms diabetes.

    Complications of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

    Gestational diabetes that is not managed carefully can result in high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can cause problems for the mother and the baby, with a high chance of needing surgery to deliver (C-section).

    May affect your baby:

    • Being very large (9 pounds or more), making delivery quite difficult

    • Being born early can cause respiratory distress syndrome

    • Having low blood sugar

    • Develop type 2 diabetes later in life

    May affect you:

    • Many women with gestational diabetes continue to develop type 2 diabetes in the future

    • Have risk of high blood pressure, as well as preeclampsia

    • Most likely to have a C-section delivery

    What is the Treatment for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus?

    Gestational diabetes treatment options include:

    Lifestyle changes:

    Follow a healthy eating plan planned by your doctor or dietitian. Also, exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight.

    Blood Sugar Monitoring:

    Screening of blood sugar is important to ensure blood sugar levels stay in a healthy range.


    If diet and exercise are not helping to manage blood sugar levels, there is a need for insulin injections to lower your blood sugar. There are also some prescribed medications that can help.


    Gestational diabetes is a consequential condition seen in pregnant women with higher blood sugar. It is mostly diagnosed during the second trimester, around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Both mother and baby will have health-related complications if not treated for diabetes in time. With proper diet and exercise, GDM in pregnancy can be managed well. If diet and exercise cannot control the conditions, then medication is needed. Women with GD also have a higher possibility of having type 2 diabetes in the future.

    It is advised to talk to a doctor about how to manage and keep a check on blood sugar to reduce the risk of diabetes.


    Johns Hopkins Team.What is gestational diabetes mellitus?

    Mayo Clinic Staff. Gestational diabetes - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo

    Michael Dansinger December, 2021

    Centres for Disease control and Prevention. .

    Cleveland Clinic medical professional. January 2021.

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