6 Facts About Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant woman checking blood sugar by herself at home; blog: 6 Facts About Gestational Diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month.  This is a month when a significant focus is placed on raising awareness for various forms of diabetes.  While much attention tends to be directed towards the most common forms such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there is another form that can potentially affect pregnant women and their baby.  This form is referred to as gestational diabetes.  Here are six facts expecting women should know about gestational diabetes.   

1. Diagnosis of gestational diabetes usually occurs in the middle of pregnancy

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops in a woman who did not have any form of diabetes prior to pregnancy.  Doctors most often test for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks into the pregnancy.  Women who develop gestational diabetes may require more frequent checkups.   

2. There are no known causes for gestational diabetes

While researchers have yet to determine an exact cause for gestational diabetes, there may be a few clues within the placenta.  The placenta supports the baby as it grows and hormones from the placenta assist in the baby’s development.  However, these hormones tend to block the action of the mother’s insulin inside her body.  This is referred to as insulin resistance.  Insulin resistance makes it difficult for the mother’s body to use insulin. 

Gestational diabetes occurs when the body is not able to make or use all the insulin necessary for pregnancy.  Without enough insulin, glucose is unable to leave the blood and be changed to energy, which causes glucose to build up in the blood to high levels (hyperglycemia). 

3. There are risk factors    

Some women have a greater chance of developing gestational diabetes.  Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:

  • Overweight and obesity
  • A lack of physical activity
  • Previous gestational diabetes or prediabetes
  • Diabetes in an immediate family member
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Previously delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Race: Women who are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian American have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.

4. Gestational diabetes can be managed

Women with gestational diabetes can help manage it by eating healthy foods, exercising, and if necessary, taking medication.  Controlling blood sugar can keep the mother and the baby healthy and prevent a difficult delivery.  Usually, blood sugar returns to normal soon after delivery.  However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.  They will need to be regularly tested for changes in their blood sugar.   

5. Unmanaged gestational diabetes can lead to complications for both the baby and the mother

Complications that may affect the baby include:

  • Excessive birth weight
  • Early (preterm) birth
  • Serious breathing difficulties
  • Low blood sugar
  • Obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life
  • Stillbirth

Complications that may affect the mother include:

  • High blood pressure and preeclampsia
  • Having a surgical delivery (C-section)
  • Future diabetes

6. There are steps to take to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes

There are no guarantees when it comes to preventing gestational diabetes, however, there are healthy choices that can lower a woman’s risk of developing it. 

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Stay active
  • Start pregnancy at a healthy weight
  • Do not gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy

To schedule an appointment

If you would like to schedule an appointment with Triangle Physicians for Women, you may do so by calling (919) 678-6900 or requesting an appointment online.

I think Dr. Grana and her assistant (Mandy) are the best. I have been going to TP4W for years – at least 20, and I have never been disappointed with the level of care I have received. I can be a challenge as my level for pain tolerance is low and they put up with me! I can’t help but highly recommend the practice to anyone looking for exemplary women’s healthcare.

Love love love Dr. Grana and her crew. Love going to Holly Springs office. The girls are the best from Lisa at the front desk to all the girls in the back. Your music and atmosphere is great. Thanks for making these appointments fun!! Yes believe it or not, fun!!!

Dr V and the office staff were all very professional, understanding, caring and very efficient. I would be happy to recommend this practice to friends, family and associates. – Barbara M. Lucas

My visit was great! & my past visit have all been great.Kristy helped me even with me being a bit stressed & in a hurry because I had to be seen & my job is super strict. Her urgency to get me seen was phenomenal. I even got to see Heather, she’s awesome & amazing. She helped deliver my baby girl a year ago. My whole family loves her and Dr Sheshadri. We actually can’t wait to get pregnant again hahaha. Everyone treats you with respect and always makes sure your okay & answers whatever questions you have before you leave. Even leaving a message for the nurses,they get back to you so quickly.  This practice really makes you feel taken care of.  We appreciate you all!  – Erika Hooks

My experience with the TP4W staff has been top of the line.  They helped me through three pregnancies and coached me through every step of the way.  Eternally thankful I chose TP4W.  – Britney

TP4W have such amazing doctors, midwives and nurses.  I cannot say enough about Dr. Grana and the rest of the staff for all the help, advice, guidance and medical care they provided me with all of my kids.  She made me feel safe and calm through both c-sections.  My routine care and pregnancy care have always been top notch and I would recommend them to anyone looking for an OBGYN.  – Brooke

We were honored to receive a hand written note..

Dr. Grana, Angie, Jessica, Heather, April, Sarah and the rest of the staff –

Thank you all so much for taking such good care of me through both of my pregnancies and births, especially my latest one on 10/29! most of yall know how nervous I was from having gone through a lot (to say the least) with my first in 2016. You all made me feel so comfortable and at ease before, during and after. And going through a touch year with my dad, you guys always asked how he was doing at every appointment, which was so thoughtful and beyond your job description. I know that you all see many women go through what i did each and every day and deliver many babies and perform many c-sections. But I hope you know how special Ruby’s delivery was to me. You all have amazing jobs! I cannot thank you all enough. Merry Christmas!

Love, Lucy

I have been going to TP4W since 2010/11 and could not be happier.

The staff, nurses, midwives, and doctors are all amazing. I have 2 sons, both delivered via cesarean by Dr. V. Every visit and every provider did everything in their power to give me the birth experience I wanted, and also ensure that myself and my babies were safe and healthy. Dr. V even did everything in his power to help me avoid my first c-section and VBAC with the second, but that turned out to be out of his hands and he was the absolute best surgeon. With my two pregnancies, I experienced a few scares and some unusual circumstances that would be too long and too private to write in a review, but every single hurdle was handled with grace, honesty, and professionalism. I am so thankful for the recommendation from a friend to come to this office. I can’t imagine ever going to another practice.

TP4W is amazing and I am so very thankful I found them 9 years ago!! Amazing partnership between midwives and doctors, sweet nurses and front end staff, and relaxing environment. I literally recommend them to all my friends! I look forward to my appointments and feel like I’m going to catch up with old friends.

I’ve always had wonderful experiences at TP4W. Everyone is friendly, knowledgeable, and thorough in their care. April delivered my son and I can’t say enough wonderful things about her. She is patient and compassionate. I had the best labor and delivery experience thanks to her. I do and will continue to recommend them to my friends and family!