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Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

In the majority of women, gestational diabetes causes no symptoms. However, this does not necessarily mean that most women who develop this condition go undiagnosed. Typically, a physician will evaluate a woman’s risk of gestational diabetes as part of an overall wellness plan, which may begin even before pregnancy. These checkups will be especially important for women who are at a high risk of gestational diabetes, such as those who are obese or have prediabetes.

Because physicians can’t rely on gestational diabetes symptoms to indicate a potential problem, women with even an average risk of developing the condition will typically undergo screenings about half way through their pregnancy. These screenings may include:

  • An initial glucose challenge test – Women will drink a glucose solution and have their blood tested to determine whether sugar is metabolizing at an acceptable rate. A high blood sugar level only indicates an elevated risk of developing gestational diabetes, and is not a definitive diagnosis.
  • Follow-up glucose tolerance testing – Another glucose solution is administered after a night of fasting, and a series of blood sugar measurements are taken for several hours after. At this stage, women with abnormally high blood sugar are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Through an individualized approach, Tampa General Hospital physicians help women with gestational diabetes maintain blood sugar levels that are as near to normal as possible each day, which significantly decreases the risk of health complications in both the mother and child. It is also important to note that, while gestational diabetes typically does not cause symptoms and resolves after birth, women with this condition are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.  Our physicians can perform routine blood tests and recommend adjustments to diet and exercise that may reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Click here to find a physician to help treat gestational diabetes.