Each year 3 to 5 percent of pregnant women in the U.K. develop gestational diabetes. If you’re over the age 25, are obese, have blood sugar of blood pressure problems, a family history of diabetes, or belong to certain ethnic groups, you may be at risk for gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can be a serious problem, because it can result in an infant with a dangerously high birth weight, which causes difficulties during labor, including a higher risk for caesarean delivery.
These women are also more likely to develop hypertension during pregnancy and have it persist after delivery. There is also risk to the infant. Babies exposed to high concentrations of glucose before birth may have problems maintaining their blood sugar in the first few days after delivery. They are also more likely to have breathing problems and require oxygen supplementation if born early. Gestational diabetes can generally be controlled by diet and sensible exercise during pregnancy. Blood sugar levels usually return to normal after delivery. If you’ve had gestational diabetes however, you have about 20 to 50 percent chance of developing Type 2 diabetes within the next five to ten years. Also, your baby may be more likely to become overweight and develop diabetes later in life, because he or she has inherited your metabolic tendencies.