Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is diabetes that happens when a woman is pregnant. Diabetes is when there is too much glucose in the blood. Insulin is a hormone that helps it move from the blood to the cells to be used for energy. Problems making or using it causes the glucose to build up. Hormones from the placenta can also block insulin from working.
GDM can cause these problems in the mother:
GDM can cause these problems in the baby:
Managing blood glucose levels can lower the risk of these problems.
Gestational diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/types/gestational. Accessed September 12, 2017.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/gestational-diabetes-mellitus-gdm. Updated June 29, 2017. Accessed September 12, 2017.
Hillier TA, Pedula KL, et al. Excess gestational weight gain: modifying fetal macrosomia risk associated with maternal glucose. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;112:1007-1014.
2/5/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/gestational-diabetes-mellitus-gdm. Cheng YW, Chung JH, et al. Gestational weight gain and gestational diabetes mellitus: perinatal outcomes. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;112:1015-1022.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 11/17/2020