How does gestational diabetes affect your pregnancy?

If you have gestational diabetes and don’t treat it, it can be harmful to both you and your growing baby, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

Having gestational diabetes causes the pancreas to work extra hard to make insulin, but that insulin still doesn’t lower blood sugar levels the way it should, according to the ADA.

The extra blood sugar travels through the placenta and gives the baby high blood sugar, which makes the baby’s pancreas create too much insulin also, according to the ADA. The extra insulin makes the baby grow extra fat – a condition called macrosomia.

Macrosomia can cause health problems for the baby, including shoulder damage during birth, jaundice, low blood sugar at birth, breathing problems and increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to the ADA.

Having gestational diabetes also can affect you, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by increasing your chances of:

  • cesarean delivery
  • depression
  • preeclampsia (high blood pressure and too much protein in your urine)
  • type 2 diabetes

Talk to your doctor for more information about how gestational diabetes affects your pregnancy.

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