Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes (cont.)

What Happens to My Baby After Delivery?

Your baby's blood sugar level will be tested immediately after birth. If the blood sugar is low, he or she will be given sugar water to drink or by an intravenous tube in the vein. Your baby may be sent to a special care nursery for observation during the first few hours after birth to make sure he or she doesn't have a low blood glucose reaction.

If you had gestational diabetes, there is an increased risk that your newborn will develop jaundice. Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin that occurs when bilirubin is present in the baby's blood. Bilirubin is a pigment that causes jaundice and is released when extra red blood cells build up in the blood and can't be processed fast enough. Jaundice goes away rapidly with treatment that often involves exposing your baby to special lights to get rid of the pigment.

Will Gestational Diabetes Cause the Baby to Have Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes does increase the risk that your child will have diabetes in the future.

Will I Still Have Diabetes After I Deliver My Baby?

Usually with gestational diabetes, blood sugar levels return to normal about 6 weeks after childbirth because the placenta, which was producing the extra hormones that caused insulin resistance, is gone. Your doctor will check your blood sugar levels after your baby is born to make sure your blood sugar level has returned to normal. Some doctors recommend an oral glucose tolerance test 6-8 weeks after delivery to check for diabetes.

You should also be screened for diabetes in the future. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 60% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later-in-life. By maintaining an ideal body weight, following a healthy diet, and exercising, you will be able to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In addition, women who have gestational diabetes during one pregnancy have a 40%-50% chance of developing diabetes in the next pregnancy. If you had gestational diabetes during one pregnancy and are planning to get pregnant again, talk to your health care provider first so you can make the necessary lifestyle changes before your next pregnancy.

WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:
American Diabetes Association: "Gestational Diabetes."
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: "Gestational Diabetes: A Guide for Pregnant Women."
American College of Nurse Midwives: "Gestational Diabetes."

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on May 15, 2012
© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.


Last Editorial Review: 5/15/2012

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