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Gestational Diabetes

Diabetes and a Healthy Pregnancy

If you have diabetes and plan to get pregnant, we recommend you see your obstetrician / gynecologist and your primary care provider before you become pregnant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly five to nine percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes.

The good news is that you’re not alone. Allegheny Health Network is here to help. Your team at AHN Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Health will work with your obstetrician to help manage the gestational diabetes.

We start with a commitment to deliver the highest quality of care to you, our patient, and to help you cope and thrive with gestational diabetes.

Although gestational diabetes is a serious medical condition, it is treatable and completely manageable. With regular monitoring by your doctor or healthcare professional, and a few lifestyle modifications, you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy and get ready to welcome the new addition to your family.

What you need to know about your pregnancy and gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes usually shows up in the middle of a pregnancy, with doctors typically testing for it somewhere between 24 and 28 weeks.

When you have gestational diabetes, your body doesn’t make or normally process insulin, and it also can’t normally process and use the sugars and starches your body receives from the foods you eat. As a result, your body collects extra sugar in your blood that can cause your baby to receive more sugar than it needs and grow larger than the ideal for gestational age.

When gestational diabetes occurs, your baby is fully developed but still growing. Although it doesn’t cause the kind of birth defects that can sometimes happen when the mother had diabetes before pregnancy, it can cause complications.

As excess sugar travels in your blood through the placenta to your baby, it causes the baby's pancreas to make extra insulin to get rid of the blood sugar. And since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat.

This can lead to a condition called macrosomia, or a large birth weight baby. Babies with macrosomia can face health problems of their own, including damage to their shoulders during birth.

And with extra insulin made by the pancreas, your baby may have very low blood sugar levels at birth and be at a higher risk for breathing problems and become a risk for obesity or type 2 diabetes in adulthood.