Pin Me

Complications of Gestational Diabetes

written by: Andrea E. • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 6/24/2010

A concise overview of the complications of gestational diabetes. This article will go over the complications the mother faces as well as the complications the baby will face when born to a mother with gestational diabetes.

  • slide 1 of 3

    Gestational Diabetes

    Pregnancy-Belly Pregnancy is hard with all of the aches, pains, and hormone changes but when gestational diabetes and all of the complications of gestational diabetes are factored in, it makes pregnancy even more difficult. On average, 1 to 3 percent of women develop gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes normally begins within the second trimester of pregnancy and resolves on its own after delivery.

    Complications affecting mother during pregnancy

    Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): It is very common for women with gestational diabetes to have twice the amount of urinary tract infections than women without the condition. The higher number of urinary tract infections may be due to the extra amount of glucose in the urine.

    Type 2 Diabetes: During pregnancy when women develop gestational diabetes they are put at a much higher risk to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. It is best to maintain a healthy lifestyle during and after pregnancy to help in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

    Preeclampsia: More commonly known as high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine during pregnancy. Having gestational diabetes significantly increases your risk for the very serious and potentially dangerous preeclampsia. This condition increases the risk of stroke, impaired kidney and liver function, seizers, and in very severe cases, death to the mother and/or infant. Prenatal care is vital for the early detection of preeclampsia. The earlier it is detected the better the chances are to find a way to prevent it from worsening.

  • slide 2 of 3

    Gestational Diabetes Continued

    Complications that may affect the infant:

    Excess Growth (large baby): When extra glucose from the mother crosses the placenta it causes the infants pancreas to make extra insulin. When this process occurs, it in turn causes the child to grow very large. In addition it causes the infant to gain weight in the upper body and have wider shoulders. Many times when this occurs a C-section is required. In some cases when the baby grows large and is delivered vaginally, the infant and/or the mother may sustain injuries.

    Respiratory Distress Syndrome: Infants born with this condition have a hard time breathing on their own and may require breathing assistance. This is normally temporary and only needed until the lungs become strong enough to breath on their own without problems.

    Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar): During pregnancy the infants insulin production was much higher than normal due to the gestational diabetes, causing the mothers extra glucose to cross the placenta. When this occurs, after birth the infants blood sugar levels may drop very low resulting in seizers. To prevent this from occurring, the baby’s blood sugar levels are checked shortly after birth. If they are too low, prompt feeding may help or an IV of glucose may be necessary to bring the blood sugar levels back to normal.

    Type 2 Diabetes: When an infant is born to a mother with gestational diabetes, it increases the risk of type 2 diabetes later in life. Instill a healthy style of living in your child to help in the prevention of type 2 diabetes later in life.

    The complications of gestational diabetes are very serious and can become very dangerous. When prenatal care is maintained as will as a healthy, active lifestyle, many women have an enjoyable pregnancy and a successful delivery to a healthy baby.

  • slide 3 of 3

    References

    http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/women/pregnancy/complications/075.html

    http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/what-is-gestational-diabetes.html