Understanding Gestational Diabetes

At first, gestational diabetes sounds innocuous. It occurs in about 2 to 5 percent of pregnant women during the second half of gestation (usually in the third trimester) as hormones guiding fetal development in the placenta interfere with normal insulin function.

Basic symptoms mirror those of other forms of diabetes, but when the baby arrives, gestational diabetes — or GDM — usually goes away.

But don’t be lulled into thinking that gestational diabetes is strictly temporary or isn’t worth taking seriously. GDM increases the risk of miscarriage (although it makes a child no more likely to have birth defects or diabetes) and, because it often causes the child to grow large before birth, can contribute to complications at delivery. (Having given birth in the past to a child weighing nine pounds or more suggests you’re at risk for GDM.) Just as important, most women who develop GDM do so because their pancreas is already weak (they’re often overweight), making them vulnerable to getting full-blown diabetes later on — which occurs in a third to a half of cases.

Protecting Your Pregnancy
GDM isn’t considered a severe form of diabetes, but it does require treatment, which is why obstetricians routinely test for it. In fact, blood-sugar goals with GDM are fairly tight — you’re shooting for the normal glucose levels found in a healthy woman who isn’t pregnant. Fortunately, this usually isn’t difficult because the pancreas still makes insulin and glucose levels remain fairly stable. Your doctor may recommend that you:

  • Ease insulin demand on the pancreas by spreading calorie intake out in smaller, more frequent meals. Of course, you still need enough calories to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Lower blood-glucose levels with mild exercises like walking or swimming.
  • Make use of insulin injections if you have trouble controlling blood sugar through diet and exercise.

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy