Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy. It results from hormonal changes that cause insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes typically disappears after pregnancy, but can return in a future pregnancy or later in life as type 2 diabetes.
Risk factors include:
- Previous gestational diabetes in a prior pregnancy
- Having given birth to a baby weighing less than nine pounds
- Family history of type 2 diabetes (parent or sibling)
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Race, especially being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latina, or Pacific Islander American
At Mount Sinai, we typically test pregnant women for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks. If you are at high risk, we may test you at your first prenatal visit. We begin by conducting a glucose challenge test. If your results are elevated, we will administer a glucose tolerance test to be certain of the diagnosis.
If you are planning on getting pregnant, there are certain steps you can take to decrease your chances of developing gestational diabetes. It is important to monitor portion sizes and consume a diet comprised of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You should also incorporate exercise into your daily routine. The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week plus resistance training at least two days per week. If you are overweight, it is important to lose weight before conception.
The Mount Sinai Health System is committed to providing the very best care to you and your baby. As such, we work closely with the physicians in the Obstretrics-Gynecology Department to manage your health while you are pregnant or if you are planning on becoming pregnant.