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November 21, 2000

Gestational Diabetes

Question from St. Clairsville, Ohio, USA:

I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. My first blood sugar test came back 154 mg/dl [8.6 mmol/L]. My three-hour GTT [glucose tolerance test] levels came back 84 mg/dl [4.6 mmol/L], 213 mg/dl [11.8 mmol/L], 207 mg/dl [11.5 mmol/L], and 139 mg/dl [7.7 mmol/L]. I was put on a special diet, and, after one week, had another fasting glucose and two-hour post-prandial test done. Both of these tests came back within the normal range, 81 mg/dl [mmol/L] and 84 mg/dl [mmol/L]. I am still so worried and have so many questions! Could I have had diabetes early on and not known? (My ultrasound and tri-screen tests were okay, and I have never had sugar in my urine.) With levels such as these, exactly how concerned should I be? I have not been able to sleep, and am worried that the stress may be doing even more harm! Please help me to get through these next ten weeks!

Answer:

You have gestational diabetes that is easily controlled with diet alone. This is a condition of pregnancy, and it is very doubtful that you have preexisting diabetes. As long as your blood sugars stay in good control, such as they are now, you and the baby will do well. The baby is not at any higher risk of abnormalities, but babies of mothers with gestational diabetes can be larger than average. Your physician will be following the baby’s growth to determine if this is happening.

OWJ