Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Gestational diabetes generally has few symptoms
  •  is most commonly diagnosed by  blood glucose tolerance test during pregnancy.
  • Diagnostic tests detect inappropriately high levels of   glucose in the blood.
  • Gestational diabetes affects 3-10% of pregnancies, depending on the population studied.

Etiology:

  • No specific cause has been identified
  • It is believed that the hormones produced during pregnancy increase the body’s resistance to insulin, resulting in impaired glucose tolerance.

Risk factors:

  • a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes or prediabetes
  • impaired glucose tolerance
  • Family history of a first degree relative with type 2 diabetes
  • maternal age – a woman’s risk factor increases as she gets older (especially for women over 35 years of age)
  • ethnic background (those with higher risk factors include African-Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Native Peoples, Hispanics
  • severe obesity
  • a previous pregnancy which resulted in a child with a high birth weight (8 lbs 12.8 oz and over)

Treatment:

  • regular excercise
  • diet (containing a variety of foods, distributing calories and carbohydrates evenly throughout the day, three small-to-moderate-sized meals with two to four snacks every day is recommended)
  • blood glucose monitoring and insulin injections if needed

Gestational Diabetes usually resolves within hours of the placenta being delivered or within 1-2 days postpartum

Martin, Glenn and Porth, Carol, Mattson. 2009. Pathophysiology Concepts of Altered Health States. 8th ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. Philadelphia

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