Gestational Diabetes and Information On Heredity and Diabetes

By | November 11, 2008

Gestational Diabetes Information and Gestation Diabetes Effects

Diabetes is a group of metabolic disorders that affect your blood glucose levels in the body. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes which happens mostly during the last trimester of pregnancy. A pregnant woman who has high blood sugar levels during pregnancy for the first time (with no past history of diabetes) is said to have gestational diabetes.

Is Gestational Diabetes Hereditary?

The exact cause for gestational diabetes is still not known but the hormones from the placenta which helps the baby to grow and develop are known to cause problems. Placenta supports the growth of the baby but the hormones in placenta can block the action of insulin in the mother’s body. This leads to a condition known as insulin resistance and external insulin may be needed. Without sufficient insulin in the mother’s body the glucose which is derived from digestion of food is unable to provide energy in the body cells and remains in the bloodstream. This leads to hyperglycemia. However in almost all the cases all the gestational diabetes occurs when the mother is late in her pregnancy, so it doesn’t cause any birth defects in the baby.

But if your diabetes is uncontrolled and not managed properly then it can cause harm to your baby. In gestational diabetes, the pancreas produce more insulin than required (due to insulin resistance). However this effort doesn’t help to lower your blood sugar levels. Although insulin can not cross the placental barrier and reach the baby, excess glucose in the mother’s body can. As a result you baby may have high blood glucose levels. The baby’s pancreas response to this produces more insulin to utilize the excess glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than required for growth and development, the excess is stored in the form of fat. This is the reason for macrosomia a condition in which a mother gives birth to a ‘fat’ baby. High birth weight babies can face problems during birth like damage to their shoulders.

The new born infant may have very low blood glucose levels at birth due to the excess insulin made by the pancreas. Also these babies are at higher risk of breathing problems. Due to excess insulin, as they grow are at high risk of childhood obesity and weight problems in adulthood. They are also at a greater risk for getting type-2 diabetes in the future. So yes, if you had a history of diabetes during pregnancy or if diabetes runs in your family or your husband’s family, then your children are also at risk for developing diabetes in the future.