Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make enough glucose or does not use the glucose as it should. Normally, your body changes most of the foods that you eat into glucose then carries it to the body's cells with the help of a hormone called insulin. If your body does not make enough insulin, or if the insulin does not work properly, then the glucose cannot enter the cells. This results in a build up of glucose in your blood which makes your blood-glucose level high. Gestational diabetes is when diabetes develops in a woman for the first time during pregnancy. Some women diagnosed with gestational diabetes may actually have had a very mild diabetes before pregnancy that was not diagnosed. If diabetes is not managed well, you may be at risk of several complications. The following problems can occur in pregnant women with diabetes:
- Birth defects
- High blood pressure
- Hydramnios - increased amount of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac surrounding the baby which can lead to preterm labor and delivery
- Macrosomia - when the baby receives too much glucose from the mother and grows too large; this may make delivery more difficult and increase the risk of having a cesarean delviery
- The baby may have: trouble breathing, jaundice, and/or low glucose levels
Diabetes can be controlled during pregnancy by: eating right, exercising, and taking medications as directed by your health care provider.