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December 11, 2002

Gestational Diabetes

Question from Austin, Texas, USA:

I have just completed 30 weeks of pregnancy and have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and my three-hour test results are:    Time       Blood Glucose    Fasting 102 mg/dl [5.7 mmol/L] 1 hour 255 mg/dl [14.2 mmol/L] 2 hours 220 mg/dl [12.2 mmol/L] 3 hours 159 mg/dl [8.8 mmol/L] Although I am to meet a diabetes specialist soon, I am concerned about the harm that already might have been done to my baby due to these levels in the past. After all, I could have had diabetes for several weeks already. Having no clue about it, could I have harmed my baby with my diet and high sugar levels?? Is it possible I have had diabetes since 20 weeks into my pregnancy? I have never had any sugar in my urine during routine visits to my obstetrician, but I am told that has nothing to do with sugar in the blood.

Answer:

It is difficult to determine at this time if you have preexisting diabetes, although this is unlikely. For diabetes to be of major risk to the baby, it would have to be present at the time of conception. At this point in the pregnancy, the main risk is excessive growth of the baby due to elevated blood sugar. The few weeks that you may have had elevated blood sugars is not going to be a big problem assuming that you get your blood sugar under control. The diabetes specialist will start you on a diet, but you may require either an oral hypoglycemic agents or even insulin to control your blood sugar.

OWJ