The potential complications of gestational diabetes are many, but the good news is that they can usually be avoided when the mother is pro-active about her health. When a woman is dedicated to teaming up with her healthcare providers during pregnancy to make sure everything goes smooth, it can make a world of difference when fighting against the complications of gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a term that refers to the condition a pregnant woman is in when she is a diabetic. Gestational diabetes can happen when a woman who is expecting a child already had diabetes before she conceived. Sometimes, however, gestational diabetes is a side effect of pregnancy. Often, gestational diabetes wears off after a woman gives birth, but sometimes the woman has diabetes for life. After a woman gives birth, tests will be administered a few months down the road to make sure blood glucose levels have returned to normal. Even if diabetes goes away after a woman gives birth, her chance increase for developing type 2 diabetes later on in life. These rattling statistics are part of the reason why the complications of gestational diabetes should not be taken lightly.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, 2 to 5 percent of all pregnant women develop gestation diabetes. Screening normally takes place when a woman is 6 to 7 months into her pregnancy because this is when it is most likely to occur. If an expecting mother tests positive for gestational diabetes, her and her baby will be monitored closely for the duration of the pregnancy. A woman will also likely be instructed to monitor blood glucose levels at home to avoid the common complications of gestational diabetes. In some cases, insulin therapy is called for. Diet and exercise is another factor that is likely to be addressed. Signs and symptoms related to the complications of gestational diabetes include sugar in the urine, unusual thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, nausea, frequent bladder infections, vaginal infections, skin complications and blurry vision. A doctor can do a test to determine if a pregnant woman is experiencing increased levels of sugar in her urine.

The complications of gestational diabetes can lead to a high birth weight, a premature birth, a higher chance of a cesarean delivery and a slight risk of fetal and neonatal fatality. Although the risk for death is low, it should still be taken very, very serious. Respiratory distress syndrome is another one of the complications of gestational diabetes that a baby may experience. This is usually the result of a pre-mature delivery, and it makes breathing difficult for the infant. When this occurs, the child may need help breathing until their lungs become stronger and are able to breath normally on their own. Jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the baby’s skin and eyes) is another one of the complications of gestational diabetes, but it is not normally a cause for concern.