If you are pregnant, your body produces other hormones. These hormones cause the body to temporarily react less well to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. During a normal pregnancy the body makes extra insulin to keep the blood sugar good. But with gestational diabetes this does not happen (enough). As a result, too much sugar remains in the blood. Pregnancy diabetes, or gestational diabetes is a temporary type of diabetes that immediately passes after the birth. The medical word for gestational diabetes is diabetes gravidarum. Women can get gestational diabetes from the 24th week of pregnancy. It occurs in 2 out of 100 pregnancies.
Target values for blood glucose during pregnancy are similar as for non-pregnant individuals: 4-7 mmol/L.
- Fasting/before meal <5.5 mmol/L
- Not sober (1h after meal) <7.8 mmol/L
- Not sober (2h after meal) <6.7 mmol/L
There are some risk factors for gestational diabetes:
- you have previously had gestational diabetes
- you previously had a baby of more than 4500 grams
- you are overweight (BMI 30 or more), before the pregnancy
- you have ever had a miscarriage
- you have a father, mother, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
- you are of Hindu, Moroccan or Turkish descent
- your cholesterol or blood sugar levels are too high
Women with an extra risk of gestational diabetes often receive a blood test to see if the blood sugar is too high. This usually happens in the 24 to 28th week of pregnancy. If you have had gestational diabetes before, you will sometimes get a test earlier, at 16 to 18 weeks.
Women with gestational diabetes are usually advised to spread the carbohydrates they eat more over the day and to leave sugar-rich products. If the blood sugar level remains too high, the doctor might advise to inject insulin. Gestational diabetes usually disappears within a day after delivery. (Source: Diabetes Fund)