12 February 2019
- Last edited 12 February 2019
What causes gestational diabetes?
Although the cause of gestational diabetes is not known, there are some theories as to why it occurs.
The placenta supplies a growing fetus with nutrients and water. It also produces a variety of hormones to maintain the pregnancy. Some of these hormones (estrogen, cortisol, and human placental lactogen) can have a blocking effect on insulin, which usually begins about 20 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy.
As the placenta grows, more of these hormones are produced, and insulin resistance becomes greater. Normally, the pancreas is able to make additional insulin to overcome insulin resistance, but when the production of insulin is not enough to overcome the effect of the placental hormones, gestational diabetes results.
Culled from: stanfordchildrens.org