Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a temporary form of diabetes that affects pregnant women. It usually occurs during the second or third trimester, and although it often resolves after delivery, it can have significant health consequences for both mother and baby. In this blog, we will explore the causes, risks and management of GDM to provide a comprehensive understanding of the condition.


Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Best Gynecologist in Kolkata.


Causes of gestational diabetes mellitus


Gestational diabetes mellitus occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the increased demands during pregnancy. Several factors contribute to its development:


Hormonal changes: Pregnancy leads to increased levels of certain hormones, such as human placental lactogen (HPL) and cortisol, which can interfere with the normal functioning of insulin.


Insulin resistance: As the placenta grows, it releases hormones that promote insulin resistance, making it difficult for the body to use insulin effectively.


Genetics: Women with a family history of diabetes are at higher risk of developing GDM.


Obesity: Being overweight or obese before pregnancy can increase the risk of GDM.


Risks associated with GDM


GDM poses risks to both the mother and the developing fetus:


Maternal Risks:

  • Increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Higher likelihood of needing a cesarean section due to a larger baby.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) during pregnancy.
  • Preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure and organ damage.


Fetal Risks:

  • Macrosomia: Babies born to mothers with GDM are often larger than normal, which can lead to birth complications.
  • Hypoglycemia: After birth, the baby may experience low blood sugar due to overproduction of insulin.
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome: Premature birth may occur, leading to respiratory problems in the baby.
  • Stillbirth: Although rare, GDM can increase the risk of stillbirth.


Treatment of GDM


The management of GDM primarily focuses on blood sugar control to reduce associated risks. Here are some key strategies:


Diet: A balanced low-glycemic diet that controls carbohydrate intake is crucial. Regular meals and snacks help stabilize blood sugar levels.


Exercise: Regular physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity. However, consult your health care provider before starting exercise.


Blood sugar monitoring: Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels using a glucometer is essential. This helps ensure that blood sugar levels stay within target range.


Medications: In some cases, insulin or oral medications may be prescribed to effectively manage blood sugar levels.


Prenatal care: Regular prenatal check-ups are vital to monitor the health of both mother and fetus. Ultrasound and non-stress tests can help assess the baby’s condition.


Education and support: Pregnant women diagnosed with GDM should receive education and support to help them make the necessary lifestyle changes and understand the management of the condition.



Gestational diabetes mellitus is a temporary form of diabetes that can affect pregnant women and poses a risk to both mother and child. Understanding the causes, risks, and management of GDM is essential for pregnant women and health care providers. With proper care, most women with GDM can effectively manage the condition and give birth to a healthy baby, reducing the long-term health risks associated with diabetes. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it is essential that you consult with a healthcare provider to assess your risk and develop a personalized plan for managing GDM.


To consult a Gynecologist at Sparsh Diagnostic Centre, call our helpline number 9830117733.




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