Other Conditions & Exposures

Expert reports about Other Conditions & Exposures


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE GESTATIONAL DIABETES DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

                                                                                                                                                

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes (more accurately called gestational diabetes mellitus) is diabetes (your body has trouble managing sugar) that develops during pregnancy and then goes away, as opposed to diabetes that you have before pregnancy (pre-gestational diabetes) that continues and often worsens during pregnancy and diabetes that is first noticed in pregnancy and that continues long after. Gestational diabetes is the result of a hormone from the placenta, called human placental lactogen (hPL) or human chorionic somatomammotropin (hCS). Along with the hormones estrogen and cortisol, hPL interferes with the effects of insulin, the hormone that helps your cells, especially muscle cells, absorb glucose (sugar) from the blood. This causes hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), meaning that the concentration of blood sugar, glucose, increases in your blood, as your pancreas pumps out increasing amounts of insulin. Because hPL comes from the placenta, which does not reach a large size until the middle of pregnancy, gestational diabetes is not a condition that you can have in early pregnancy. Rather, it begins typically around the late second trimester.


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