Gestational diabetes is a condition where a woman without a history of diabetes develops elevated blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Although it may not have many symptoms, it increases the risk of pregnancy complications. Babies born to mothers with uncontrolled gestational diabetes may also face several issues.
It is the commonest pregnancy-associated metabolic complication. It occurs when there is impaired insulin secretion and insulin resistance. However, the cause for these defects are still unknown. Screening for gestational diabetes is usually performed between 24 to 28 weeks of gestation. However, testing can be performed earlier for those with a high risk for gestational diabetes. Depending on the population, gestational diabetes is estimated to affect about 3% to 10% of all pregnancies.
Gestational diabetes is the commonest metabolic complication that occurs during pregnancy. It occurs in about 14% or 200,000 pregnancies in the United States every year. Between the years 1994 and 2002, the incidence of gestational diabetes doubled. This increase can also be attributed to improved diagnosis and screening tools along with soaring rates of obesity due to sedentary lifestyles and excessive intake of calories. Gestational diabetes is more common among the last 3 months of pregnancy and affects about 1% under the age of 20 and 13% over the age of 44. The risk is higher among indigenous Australians, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans. In the majority of cases, the gestational diabetes usually resolves once the baby is born.