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Kapiolani Pali Momi

When you’re pregnant, hormonal changes can make your cells less responsive to insulin. For most moms-to-be, this isn’t a problem. When the body needs additional insulin, the pancreas secretes more of it. But if your pancreas can’t keep up with the increased insulin demand during pregnancy, your blood glucose levels rise too high, resulting in gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that some women get during pregnancy. Between 2 and 10 percent of expectant mothers develop this condition, making it one of the most common health problems of pregnancy.

Most women with gestational diabetes don’t remain diabetic after baby is born. However, once you’ve had gestational diabetes, you’re at higher risk for getting it again during a future pregnancy and at a 40-60 percent chance of developing diabetes later in life.

Gestational diabetes usually has no symptoms. That’s why almost all pregnant women have a glucose screening test between 24 and 28 weeks.

If you’re at high risk for diabetes or are showing signs of it (such as having sugar in your urine), your health care provider will recommend this screening test at your first prenatal visit and then repeat the test again at 24 to 28 weeks if the initial result is negative.

The Sweeter Choice program at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children works with high-risk pregnant women to reduce gestational and pre-gestational diabetes by helping them develop healthy diet and exercise habits to keep both moms and babies healthy.

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Fetal Diagnostic Center