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Definition of Gestational diabetes

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Gestational diabetes: A diabetic condition that appears during pregnancy and usually goes away after the birth of the baby. Gestational diabetes is best controlled by dietary adjustment. Gestational diabetes can cause birth complications. One complication is macrosomia, in which the baby is considerably larger than normal due to large deposits of fat; such a baby can grow too large to be delivered through the vagina. Gestational diabetes also increases the risk of low blood sugar, low serum calcium and low serum magnesium in the baby immediately after delivery. The key to prevention is careful control of the mother's blood sugar levels. If the mother maintains normal blood sugar levels, it is less likely that the fetus will develop macrosomia, hypoglycemia, or other chemical abnormalities.

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