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Large Baby Due to Gestational Diabetes  

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Definition  

Diabetes occurs when there is a higher level of glucose in the blood than is normal. Glucose comes from the breakdown of the food you eat. It travels through your body in the blood. A hormone called insulin then helps glucose move from your blood to your cells. Once glucose is in your cells, it can be used for energy. A problem making or using insulin means glucose cannot move into your cells. Instead, the glucose builds up in your blood. The build-up is called hyperglycemia.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs or is first recognized during pregnancy. The extra glucose can affect the mother and the baby.

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Causes  

It is caused by reduced sensitivity to insulin during pregnancy.

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Risk Factors  

Gestational diabetes is more common in women who are 25 years and older. It is also more common in women of Hispanic, African-American, Native-American, Asian-American, Indigenous Australian, or a Pacific Islander descent.

Factors that may increase the risk of gestational diabetes include:

  • Obesity or being overweight—This can affect the body's ability to use insulin.
  • Gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Previous delivery of a large baby
  • Sleep-disordered breathing—abnormal breathing during sleep ranging from snoring to sleep apnea
  • History of polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Previous stillbirth or too much fluid surrounding a baby during pregnancy
  • Multiple pregnancy—carrying two or more babies

Also, hormones that help the baby's growth may interfere with insulin.

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Symptoms  

This condition may not cause any symptoms since women are screened for this. If symptoms do occur, they may include:

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Diagnosis  

As part of prenatal screening, you will be tested for gestational diabetes. If you don't have a history of diabetes, the test will be done at 24-28 weeks of gestation. You will be given a drink that has a special glucose solution in it. The level of glucose in your blood will be measured. Other tests may be used that require fasting (not eating or drinking anything). If you are high risk for gestational diabetes or have symptoms, you will be tested earlier in the pregnancy.

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Treatment  

The goal of treatment is to return blood glucose levels to normal. Treatment may include:

Diet  

A dietitian can help you develop a healthy meal plan. Guidelines include:

  • Eat a balanced diet. Do not skip meals.
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and high fiber foods .
  • Limit the amount of fat you eat.
  • Avoid foods high in sugar such as soda, candy, and cookies.
  • Manage your portion sizes at each meal.
  • Plan a bedtime snack each night. It should include protein and complex carbohydrates such as legumes, potatoes, corn, or rice.
  • Keep a record of your food intake. Share this information with your doctor.

Do not gain more weight during pregnancy than your doctor advises. Excess weight can increase complications in your pregnancy. It will also make it more difficult to control your diabetes.

Exercise