Atlantic Endocrinology New York City

Symptoms & Causes of Gestational Diabetes

Pregnancy is a time of wonder and anticipation, but it can also raise unexpected questions, especially when you experience unusual symptoms.

Could these signs be pointing to gestational diabetes? While not every symptom warrants immediate alarm, understanding gestational diabetes, its symptoms, and causes empowers you to navigate pregnancy with informed decisions.

Explore our Diabetes management in Queens and begin your health journey today.


What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a condition that appears during pregnancy when the body is not able to produce sufficient insulin. Insulin is a crucial hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Inadequate insulin during pregnancy leads to higher blood sugar levels, resulting in gestational diabetes.

Recognizing the Symptoms

In many cases, gestational diabetes does not present noticeable symptoms and may only be detected through routine screening. However, some women may experience symptoms such as:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination

  • Excessive hunger

  • Significant fatigue

  • Blurred vision

  • Frequent yeast infections

  • Unexplained weight loss during pregnancy

It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms for appropriate evaluation and testing.

Understanding the Causes and Risk Factors

The development of gestational diabetes is influenced by several factors:

  • Hormonal Changes: The placenta produces hormones that may impair the effectiveness of insulin.

  • Genetic Predisposition: A family history of diabetes can increase your risk.

  • Body Weight: Being overweight or obese prior to pregnancy is a known risk factor.

  • Age: Women older than 35 years are at a higher risk.

  • Previous Gestational Diabetes: If you had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, your risk in future pregnancies increases.

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Women with PCOS are more susceptible to developing gestational diabetes.

Potential Complications

Unmanaged gestational diabetes can lead to complications for both the mother and the baby:

  • Mother: Risks include preeclampsia, a greater likelihood of infections, and a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

  • Baby: Possible complications include a higher birth weight, preterm birth, low blood sugar levels after birth, and a greater risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes in the future.

Diagnosis and Screening

Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed through routine screenings during pregnancy:

  • Glucose Screening Test: Typically performed between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, this test involves drinking a glucose solution and measuring blood sugar levels after one hour.

  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): If the initial screening is positive, an OGTT may be required. This test takes several blood sugar measurements after you drink a specific glucose solution.

Management Strategies

Fortunately, gestational diabetes can be managed effectively through:

  • Diet: Adhering to a diet that helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.

  • Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity as recommended by your healthcare provider.

  • Blood Sugar Monitoring: Regular monitoring at home may be necessary.

  • Medication: Some cases might require medications like insulin to manage blood sugar levels.

Preventive Measures

While not all risk factors are controllable, the following preventive measures can help:

  • Maintain a healthy weight before and throughout your pregnancy.

  • Follow a balanced diet rich in nutrients.

  • Stay active with pregnancy-safe exercises.

  • Keep up with prenatal appointments to monitor your health.


While gestational diabetes is a concern, it is manageable with the right medical care and lifestyle adjustments. Early detection and proactive management are crucial for maintaining the health of both mother and baby. If you have concerns about gestational diabetes, discuss them with your healthcare provider to develop a tailored plan for a safe and healthy pregnancy.