Gestational diabetes can develop during your pregnancy. Like other forms of diabetes, it affects the way your cells use sugar. Unlike other forms of diabetes, it may be temporary, resolving with the birth of your baby.
Unfortunately, gestational diabetes can cause complications that can harm your baby. The Mayo Clinic describes some of the issues that may arise.
1. Breathing difficulties
Gestational diabetes can make it difficult for your baby to breathe upon birth due to respiratory distress syndrome.
2. Excessive birth weight
Gestational diabetes can cause macrosomia, which occurs when the fetus grows larger than normal. Macrosomia, in turn, may complicate your delivery, possibly requiring a cesarean section.
If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may develop hypoglycemia following birth. This is usually temporary and treatable with prompt feedings and intravenous glucose as necessary but can cause seizures and other serious problems.
4. Preterm birth
If the baby is too large, it may be necessary to deliver your baby sooner than expected. High blood sugar may also cause you to spontaneously give birth prematurely, which can pose health risks for your baby.
If you have gestational diabetes, your baby’s risk of obesity later in life increases. Obesity is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes, there is a chance that your baby could die during birth or shortly thereafter.
Healthy eating, exercising, having more frequent checkups and sometimes taking medication can keep gestational diabetes under control. However, if your doctor does not diagnose your condition, you may not receive the necessary treatment. Many women with gestational diabetes do not experience noticeable symptoms, so routine screening is important.