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Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes? continued...
Gestational Diabetes
Between two and five percent of all pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a condition that usually disappears after the birth of the baby. Gestational diabetes occurs when hormones produced by the placenta block the mother's ability to use her body's insulin properly. As the mother's blood sugar level rises, the baby responds by increasing its own insulin production, which causes the baby to gain weight at an abnormal rate.


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Risks of Gestational Diabetes: Untreated gestational diabetes poses serious risks for both the mother and her unborn child. Here are some of the possible complications:
  • The baby may grow too large for a normal vaginal delivery, requiring a C-section.
  • Premature delivery may occur, caused by the baby's large size.
  • The baby may be born with Respiratory Distress Syndrome or jaundice.
  • The mother may develop toxemia and complications caused by high blood pressure.
  • The risk of infection increases.
  • After birth, the baby's increased insulin production may cause a sudden drop in the baby's blood sugar, resulting in hypoglycemia.
  • The mother runs a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later life.
Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
It would make sense if gestational diabetes symptoms resembled the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, but they don't. In fact, gestational diabetes symptoms are rarely noticeable. The only way to tell if a woman has gestational diabetes is to perform a glucose tolerance test.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2001). Diabetes public health resource: Frequently asked questions. Retrieved May 15, 2001, from www.cdc.gov/diabetes/faqs.htm.

National Institutes of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases. (nd). Your guide to diabetes: Type 1 and type 2. Retrieved August 25, 2003, from diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/type1and2/index.htm.

National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. (2000, December). Are you at risk for gestational diabetes? [NIH Pub. No. 00-4818].
 
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