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Gestational Diabetes vs Type 2 Diabetes
August 6, 2014

pregnantThere’s been a lot of talk in the last couple years about gestational diabetes, but what exactly is that? And how is it different from type 2 diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, gestational diabetes is when pregnant women, who have never had diabetes before, develop high blood glucose levels and then, possibly due to hormone changes, can’t create enough insulin to properly manage those levels. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes might need as much as three times the normal amount of insulin. This condition usually develops around the 24th week of pregnancy.

How does it affect your baby?

The ADA says your baby’s blood glucose can get elevated, causing a condition known as “macromasia,” or “fat baby.” It can cause problems during birth, as the child is larger than normal. Children born this way are also at higher risk of being obese and developing diabetes themselves.

Unlike type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes usually only lasts during the pregnancy itself and goes away after the child has been born. It can be managed through diet and exercise, just like other forms of diabetes.

What about type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to manage elevated blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. It is managed through a program of blood monitoring, medication, diet and exercise. This form of diabetes is more common in certain population groups such as Latinos, African Americans, the elderly and Asian Americans.

Women with type 2 diabetes who become pregnant should talk to their doctor about how to alter their diabetes management during this time.

The ADA has extensive information for patients with type 2 diabetes, including a free 12-month program called “Living with Type 2 Diabetes.”

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