Understanding Gestational Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, and Risk Factors

28 September 2023


Gestational diabetes is a common pregnancy-related condition that can have significant implications for both the mother and the baby. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, and risk factors associated with gestational diabetes. Additionally, we'll explore gestational diabetes diet recommendations, signs of gestational diabetes, and available gestational diabetes treatments.

What is Gestational Diabetes?:

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the increased needs during pregnancy, leading to elevated blood sugar levels.

Causes of Gestational Diabetes:

While the exact cause of gestational diabetes is not fully understood, several factors contribute to its development:

Insulin Resistance:During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones that can interfere with the body's ability to use insulin effectively.

Beta Cell Dysfunction:Some women may have pre-existing insulin resistance or beta cell dysfunction, making them more susceptible.

Undue Stress

Genetic Factors:A family history of diabetes can increase the risk of gestational diabetes.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes:

Gestational diabetes often does not exhibit noticeable symptoms, which is why regular screening during pregnancy is crucial. However, some women may experience the following signs:

  • Frequent Urination
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Increased Hunger
  • Fatigue

If you notice any of these symptoms, it's essential to discuss them with your healthcare provider. Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes:

Several factors can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes:

Obesity:Women with a higher body mass index (BMI) are at greater risk. Age: Women over the age of 25, particularly those over 30, are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

Family History:A family history of diabetes increases the risk.

Previous Gestational Diabetes:Women who had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy are at higher risk in subsequent pregnancies.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):Women with PCOS have an increased risk of gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Diet:

A crucial aspect of managing gestational diabetes is maintaining a balanced diet. A gestational diabetes diet involves:

  • Monitoring Carbohydrate Intake:Keeping track of carbohydrate consumption helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Eating Smaller, More Frequent Meals:This approach can help stabilize blood sugar throughout the day.
  • Choosing Complex Carbohydrates:Opt for whole grains, vegetables, and legumes over refined carbs.
  • Balancing Macronutrients:Including protein and healthy fats in each meal can help with blood sugar control.

Signs of Gestational Diabetes:

While some women may experience symptoms, most cases of gestational diabetes are asymptomatic. Therefore, routine screening during pregnancy is essential to detect it. If you have risk factors or any concerns, your healthcare provider will likely recommend a glucose tolerance test.

Gestational Diabetes Treatments:

When diagnosed with gestational diabetes, various treatments are available, including:

Diet and Exercise:Lifestyle changes, including a gestational diabetes diet and regular physical activity, can often control blood sugar levels.

Blood Sugar Monitoring:Regular monitoring and tracking of blood sugar levels to ensure they stay within a healthy range.

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


Understanding gestational diabetes, its causes, symptoms, and risk factors is vital for expectant mothers. By following a gestational diabetes diet, recognizing signs of gestational diabetes, and seeking timely medical guidance, women can effectively manage this condition to ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth. If you suspect you may have gestational diabetes or have risk factors, consult with a healthcare provider for proper screening and guidance.

To take the first step towards managing gestational diabetes and ensuring a healthy pregnancy, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with the best diabetologist in Chennai. Our expert team at Medway Hospital is dedicated to providing comprehensive care and support during this critical time. Call us today at 1800-572-3003 to book your appointment and embark on your journey towards a healthier pregnancy. Your well-being is our priority, and we're here to guide you every step of the way.