August 4, 2004
Question from Waipahu, Hawaii, USA:
I am 33, of normal weight, eat a fairly healthy diet and exercise, but have a history of diabetes on my maternal side. I had my first child at age 32 and did not have gestational diabetes. I am pregnant again. Right when I became pregnant, we learned of the death of a close friend in Iraq (my husband is also in the military, soon to deploy to Iraq). We were on the East Coast (USA) and the issue involved helping the family and flying all over the place, often just me and my young child. It was a VERY stressful time. At 10 to 12 weeks I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Could the stress from the death of our friend have triggered the gestational diabetes? Could there be any added complications for my baby since I may have had high blood sugar during the first trimester? I can’t seem to find anything anywhere on the topic and the doctors here don’t seem to answer my questions. An ultrasound at 18 weeks showed all is well.
It is unlikely that stress triggered gestational diabetes. When the diagnosis of diabetes is made that early in pregnancy, I am suspicious for a preexisting condition. The developing embryo is at some risk if the mother is persistently hyperglycemic, however, it is dependent on how high and for how long blood glucose is elevated. It will be important to have a follow-up ultrasound at 20 to 24 weeks to look at the baby’s heart in detail. Keep your blood sugars under as good control as possible, fasting 70 to 90 mg/dl [3.9 to 5.0 mmol/L], pre-meal 80 to 100 mg/dl [4.4 to 5.6 mmol/L], one hour post-meal less than 130 mg/dl [7.2 mmol/L] or two hours less than 120 mg/dl [6.7 mmol/L]. This is to try and prevent excess growth of the baby.
I suggest you read What is Gestational Diabetes? and search the Ask the Diabetes Team questions for related questions.