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Diabetes and Pregnancy


Diabetes is a disorder in which levels of blood sugar, glucose , are abnormally high. Many changes occur in pregnancy that can alter levels of glucose and a certain type of diabetes, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM), may develop or become apparent for the fist time during a pregnancy.

There are a number of possible health problems related to GDM, if not properly dealt with. These include:

Diagnosis and Treatment

A Glucose challenge test (GCT) is frequently performed as a routine screen for GDM in all pregnancies at 24 to 28 weeks of gestation. It should be performed earlier if symptoms are present. Some sources recommend screening at the first prenatal visit if there are risk factors. The GCT is repeated at 24 to 28 weeks if previous test is negative. A Glucose tolerance test (GTT) is performed as a follow-up to an abnormal GCT result.

In the management of gestational diabetes, dietary adjustment is the mainstay of therapy.

  • Caloric intake should be 30 to 35 kcal/kg/day. Intake should be reduced to 24 kcal/kg/day if the patient is obese.
  • The patient should avoid cakes, candy, and other fast-acting carbohydrates.
  • Dietary composition should be 50% to 60% carbohydrate, 20% to 25% protein, and 20% fat, with high fibre content.
  • Exercise has shown added benefit along with dietary therapy.
If blood glucose cannot be controlled with diet, the patient needs to be prescribed insulin .

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. Virtual Hospital, University of Iowa Family Practice Handbook: Diabetes in Pregnancy:

Other HON resources 
   From MedHunt

Diabetes in Pregnancy
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
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Contact Last modified: Oct 20 2004