Skip to content

Gestational diabetes can occur in the fourth, fifth, or sixth month of pregnancy.

During pregnancy, hormones are released that can increase the production of glucose, which in turn requires the production of more insulin. This condition puts the mother at risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Pregnant woman reading a test for gestational diabetes

What causes gestational diabetes?

During pregnancy, an expectant mother’s placenta makes many hormones. Some block insulin from moving glucose into the blood cells. To overcome this, the body produces more insulin. With gestational diabetes, the body cannot make enough insulin to keep up, causing the glucose level in the blood to rise higher than normal. This condition can cause an unborn child to gain too much weight during pregnancy. In most cases, when the baby is delivered, gestational diabetes goes away.

Risk factors for developing gestational diabetes:

  • Being overweight
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
  • Having African American, Asian American, Latino, Native American, or Pacific Islander heritage
  • Being 25 years of age or older
  • Having a prior incidence of gestational diabetes or having a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth
  • Having higher-than-normal blood-glucose levels but not high enough to be diagnosed as prediabetes or diabetes
Gestational diabetes fact sheet
Gestational diabetes Q&A fact sheet

Download information from the American Diabetes Association that offers answers to common questions about gestational diabetes.

A healthy mom with her baby.
Healthy Women, Healthy Baby Help for Delaware Families

DE Thrives offers resources, programs, and social networks for reproductive life planning, having a healthy pregnancy, raising healthy babies, and more.

Visit DE Thrives