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Gestational Diabetes

A shortage of insulin can create a buildup of glucose (blood sugar) in the bloodstream, or diabetes. For some women, pregnancy causes the shift that creates this increase in blood sugar levels, and they develop gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes: what you should know

  • If you have a family history of diabetes, you are at higher risk for developing gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy).
  • Gestational diabetes typically develops between the 20th and 24th week of pregnancy; however, it takes time for the condition to be detected in tests. That’s why doctors check for it between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.
  • There are usually no gestational diabetes symptoms. That said, symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes (e.g., type II diabetes) can surface during pregnancy. These include extreme thirst, increased urination and blurred vision.
  • Gestational diabetes is associated with preterm labor and pre-eclamplsia as well as health problems in your baby. These include jaundice, macrosomia (baby’s body is larger than normal, which can lead to a difficult delivery) and breathing problems.
  • While gestational diabetes disappears after delivery, once you’ve had it, you’re at greater risk of developing it again during future pregnancies.
  • Forty to 60 percent of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type II diabetes within five to 10 years.

Care for gestational diabetes at Rush

Your OB-GYN or primary care doctor may manage your gestational diabetes, or he or she may refer you to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist (a doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies), who has expertise in helping women with gestational diabetes.

While treatment can vary from woman to woman, the following may be part of your care plan:

  • Knowing and monitoring your blood sugar (glucose) levels
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising or keeping physically active
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Taking insulin or other medications

Why choose Rush for gestational diabetes care

  • Maternal-fetal medicine doctors at Rush specialize in caring for women with gestational diabetes and delivering their babies. These doctors are fellowship trained in treating women facing high-risk pregnancies.
  • The new Rush Family Birth Center was designed to address the unique needs of women facing high-risk pregnancies and their babies.
  • Part of the Rush Family Birth Center, the level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is strategically located next to labor and delivery. This proximity helps at-risk babies get the care they need immediately after delivery.
  • The Rush University Diabetes Center has been awarded the prestigious American Diabetes Association Education Recognition Certificate. This honor recognizes the center’s dedication to high-quality education and patient care.
  • Endocrinologists at Rush partner with other specialists at Rush to manage the complex medical and surgical care of patients with diabetes and other endocrine disorders.

Departments and programs that treat this condition