Risks of Gestational Diabetes
For many women with gestational diabetes, healthy babies are still delivered. However, if gestational diabetes is not well managed, resulting in badly controlled blood glucose levels, there can be problems for mother and child, as gestational diabetes complications risk increases. One of the complications can possibly lead to the necessity for a C-section delivery.
Gestational Diabetes Risks to Baby
Below are some of the possible gestational diabetes complications which can affect your baby.
- An overweight baby – When excessive sugar in your bloodstream enters the placenta, it stimulates the pancreas of the fetus to produce more insulin and this results in your baby putting on too much weight (macrosomia). As there is the possibility of a large baby being unable to go through the birth canal, possibly becoming hurt in the birth canal, there may be a need for a C-section delivery.
- Preterm birth with respiratory distress syndrome – As a result of excessive blood glucose, early labor may happen and the baby has to be delivered too early. Early delivery can also be done on the advice of the doctor because the baby is becoming too big. Preterm birth babies may suffer from respiratory distress syndrome which causes difficulty in breathing. However, the possibility of respiratory distress syndrome exists for all babies, early birth or not, from mothers with gestational diabetes. Such babies need assistance with their breathing until a stage is reached when their lungs have matured enough to be sufficiently strong to breathe on their own.
- Hypoglycemia – Occasionally, babies from mothers suffering from gestational diabetes get hypoglycemia(low blood sugar) just after delivery for the simple reason that their insulin production has been high.A number if such severe incidences many cause seizure. Immediate feeding and possibly glucose solution delivered intravenously can help normalize the newborn’s blood glucose level.
- Jaundice – The yellowish tint on the skin as well as the whites of the eyes is an indication of jaundice which can happen when the liver of the baby is not sufficiently matured to remove a substance called bilirubin which is a by-product of the process of recycling red blood cells by the body. Even though jaundice is not serious, it is important to check its development.
- Type 2 diabetes – The risk of being obese and developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood is greater in babies from mothers who had gestational diabetes. (see How Gestational Diabetes Affect Your Baby)
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus – Video Guide
Risk of Untreated Gestational Diabetes
If gestational diabetes is not treated, the risk of death for the baby before or just after birth is always present.
Gestational Diabetes Risk to Mother
Gestational diabetes complications that may affect the mother
It is also possible that a mother with gestational diabetes during pregnancy may face complications such as the following.
- High blood pressure, eclampsia and preeclampsia – The possibility of suffering from hypertension during pregnancy is greater for women with gestational diabetes. The chances of eclampsia and preeclampsia and, which are dangerous complications of pregnancy, occurring are increased. They can lead to hypertension and other health problems which can be threats to not just to the mother’s life but also that of the baby.
- Future diabetes – For a woman who had experienced gestational diabetes, she will most probably experience it again. There will also be gestational diabetes complications such as type 2 diabetes to worry about. She will most probably get type 2 diabetes as she ages. However, a healthy lifestyle with healthy foods in balanced meals and sufficient exercise can lessen the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes. According to statistics, for women who had suffered from gestational diabetes but are able to achieve the right body weight for their height after delivery, less than 25% of them get type 2 diabetes as they grow older.