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Gestational Diabetes Causes

Although much is known about gestational diabetes, its exact causes are not yet clear. Slightly high blood sugar after meals is common during pregnancy, and occurs in nearly all pregnant women. This is because the placenta, which connects a woman’s blood supply to her baby’s, produces a variety of hormones that interfere with insulin’s ability to move glucose (sugar) into the cells. Gestational diabetes, which usually develops in the second half of a pregnancy, can cause blood sugar to rise to a level that can cause serious health complications for the woman and her child. With treatment, however, the baby can be born healthy, and the mother’s blood sugar levels will typically return to normal after the birth.

Certain risk factors, while not causes of gestational diabetes, can increase a woman’s risk of developing the condition during a pregnancy. These include:

  • Weight – Obesity increases a woman’s chances of developing gestational diabetes.
  • Race – Although it is not clear why, women who are African American, American Indian, Hispanic, or Asian are more likely to develop the condition than Caucasian women.
  • Health – Women with prediabetes are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
  • Age – Women over 25 are at an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Tampa General Hospital’s multispecialty team of physicians, endocrinologists, and other specialists can provide women with an accurate diagnosis and treatment for gestational diabetes. We take an individualized approach to care with the goal of significantly reducing potential health complications, such as high birth weight, that gestational diabetes causes. Our dedication to providing the best care to our patients has earned us a #36 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-2021 list of America's Best Hospitals for Diabetes & Endocrinology. To find a physician to treat gestational diabetes, click here.