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What

is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a
condition in which high blood
sugar levels are detected for the
first time during pregnancy,
usually during the second or third
trimester. Maternal hormones
cause increased insulin resistance
(meaning your cells are unable to
take in the glucose from your
bloodstream) and increased
insulin demand. Sometimes, the
pancreas (which produces insulin)
is unable to produce a sufficient
supply causing higher blood sugar
levels to remain in the
bloodstream.

References
Abayomi, J., Wood, L., Spelman, S.,
Morrison, G., & Purewal, T. (2013).
The multidisciplinary management
of type 2 and gestational diabetes in
pregnancy. British Journal Of
Midwifery, 21(4), 236-242.

Lowdermilk, D., Perry, S., & Cashion, K.
(2014). Pregnancy at Risk:
Preexisting Conditions. In Maternity
Nursing (8th ed., pp. 597-599). St.
Louis, M o.: Mosby Elsevier.

WebMD (n.d.). Gestational D iabetes Causes,
Complications, and Risks. Retrieved
January 19, 2015, from
http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/g
uide/gestational_diabetes?page=1#
1

Gestational Diabetes
By: Kristina Valenzuela
N320

Am I at risk?
Your risk is higher if:
You are 25 years or older
You had a previous pregnancy with GDM
You have a family history of type 2 diabetes or GDM
You are obese
Your fasting blood glucose level is above 140 mg/dl

The glucola screening (done between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy)


involves consuming a 50-g oral glucose solution followed by a
blood sample 1 hour later. A reading of 140 mg/dl or more
warrants further testing.
The 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test involves consuming a
100-g oral glucose solution followed by a blood sample 1, 2 and 3
hours later. Two or more abnormal readings indicates a diagnosis
of gestational diabetes.

Additional Resources

American Diabetes Association


Hawaii Pacific Health - Diabetes education and
prevention classes
The Queen's Medical Center - Diabetes Education
Center

What are signs/symptoms?


Most of the time, women with gestational diabetes present with
no clear symptoms. Symptoms commonly associated with
diabetes may also be mistaken for regular pregnancy symptoms
such as increased thirst, increased urination and increased
hunger. The only definitive way to know you have gestational
diabetes is to undergo a glucola screening and/or oral glucose
tolerance test.

How can I treat gestational diabetes?


Eat a well-balanced diet, especially fruits and
vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals
(carbohydrates should be no more than 45% of your
caloric intake).
Eat at regular intervals and do not skip meals.
Drink at least 64oz of fluids a day.
Take your prenatal vitamins.
Participate in mild to moderate exercise (walking,
jogging, swimming, dance, etc.) for 30-60 minutes at
least three times a week.
Monitor blood sugar levels everyday.
Take insulin or oral hypoglycemic medications as
prescribed.