Symptoms and causes

What is it?

Gestational diabetes means that abnormally high blood sugar levels are detected during pregnancy.

How does it develop?

Some factors, such as obesity, age and heredity, certainly play a major role. However, it is not possible to predict exactly which women will develop gestational diabetes.

Potential risk

The mother's higher glucose sugar levels, which pass to the foetus through the placenta, stimulate increased insulin secretion by the child's own pancreas. These increased insulin levels cause the baby to grow too fast, the placenta is larger and there is more amniotic fluid. The risk of complications around birth - such as premature birth, traumata at birth and too low glucose levels in the baby - is greater than normal for such a child.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis

It is very important to detect and treat gestational diabetes in good time. Although the disorder usually disappears after childbirth, the mother has a high risk of developing diabetes again during a subsequent pregnancy. At around 24-28 weeks of pregnancy, the gynaecologist will prescribe a glucose test. You drink a sugary beverage and, an hour later, your blood glucose level is checked.

Women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing permanent diabetes after childbirth. The project Zoet Zwanger aims to help these women take the necessary steps for the prevention and early detection of diabetes.

Treatment

If a diagnosis of 'gestational diabetes' is made, the diet will be adjusted in consultation with the internist and dietitian. In some circumstances, it is necessary to start medication.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Pregnancy and birth

Latest publication date: 28/06/2021