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University of Illinois Extension

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. When a woman becomes pregnant there are many hormonal changes that take place. These changes, especially in the later stages of pregnancy, can affect the mother’s sensitivity to insulin. When the mother becomes resistant to insulin, her cells do not let glucose in and her blood glucose levels rise. When blood glucose levels rise above a certain level, gestational diabetes is diagnosed.

´╗┐pregnant woman with doctor

Doctors often check women’s blood glucose levels during their pregnancy because high blood glucose levels can cause complications during the pregnancy or after the baby is born. These complications include infants of high birth weight, increased risk of cesarean delivery, infant respiratory distress syndrome, infant hypoglycemia following delivery, and infant jaundice. The presence of fasting hyperglycemia greater than 105mg/dl may be associated with increased risk of fetal malformations and death. Although gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby’s birth, women with this type of diabetes are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.


This site was last updated June, 2014.
This is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.