Complications associated with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus!

3 min read

If your reading this article the chances of you being a mother or a to be mother are very high 😉 and if so, I should congratulate you first for starting a new life! And if you’re suffering from Gestational diabetes you need to know why it is important to control your sugars!

So what is gestational diabetes all about?

It’s the high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy and the super good part is that in most of the cases it disappears after giving birth. There is no fixed time on when you can get diabetes during pregnancy but, it is most commonly found in the second half.

There are certain complications that are associated with gestational diabetes which I will be covering in this blog, but let me tell you – It is not to scare you but to make you aware about how high sugars can have ill effects on you and your baby. Therefore it’s important to control sugars, to   keep yourself away from these complications.

Okay, so gestational diabetes is a big word I’m going to denote it as GDM for the rest of the article.

Putting down the most common reasons why GDM occurs–

  • BMI of more than 30 kg/m2(i.e if you’re obese)
  • Genetics (hereditary)
  • GDM in previous delivery
  • Previous baby weighed more than 10 lbs
  • More than 30 years by age

Quickly let’s move on to the main topic of complications that happen due to GDM.

I’m sure a mother first wants to know everything related to the baby so putting that first and later the possible complications for a mother.

On the baby

  • If your sugars consistently remain high, the extra glucose in your blood crosses the placenta; this triggers the babies’ pancreas to produce extra insulin. This can further cause your babies to grow too large which is called Macrosomia.

Macrosomic babies are likely to become wedged, sustain birth injuries or require a C section.

  • Preterm delivery – You may have to deliver your baby early if it is macrosomic because of excess amniotic fluid in the womb. Also if the size of the baby is too large it may cause problems during delivery and may need a C section or induced labor.


  • Pre eclampsia – Condition that causes high blood pressure during pregnancy can cause pregnancy related complications.


  • Respiratory distress syndrome – it’s a condition where baby finds difficulty with breathing. They may need help with breathing until their lungs mature and become strong.


  • Sometimes babies can even experience low blood sugars immediately after month as their own bodies’ insulin production is very high. Prompt feedings and sometimes an intravenous glucose solution can return the blood sugars to normal.


  • Babies of mother having GDM are at higher risk of developing Diabetes in later stage of life.


  • Untreated and uncontrolled sugars for a long time during pregnancy can even lead to child death either before or shortly after birth.


  • Still birth could be another possibility where baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.


  • Shoulder dystocia – Now this was new for me also, macrosomia can lead to shoulder dystocia. This is when your baby’s head passes through your vagina but your baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind your pelvic bone.


It can prove to be dangerous as the baby may not be able to breathe when they are stuck. Some babies may suffer from some sort of injury either temporary or permanent. Possible injuries could damage the bronchial plexus nerves, bone fracture, birth asphyxia (lack of oxygen supply), lacerations (deep cut in skin or flesh)


  • IUGR – Intrauterine growth restriction is a condition where a baby’s growth slows of ceases when it is in the uterus.



Moving on to the possible complications for mothers


  • As I mentioned about it before also, mothers are at high risk of getting high blood pressure (pre eclampsia) and other symptoms that can threaten the lives of both mother and baby.
  • If you have gestational diabetes you’re more likely to get it in the future pregnancy also. Along with that possibilities of getting type 2 diabetes in later stage of life are also higher.



I’ll soon come up with some quick tips on how you can manage your gestational diabetes, keep waiting for the next blog till then.


Disti Vira, Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

Disti Vira, Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

Her fitness mantra is “do not start with a diet that has an expiration date, instead, focus on a healthy lifestyle that will last forever”. Disti has completed post graduation in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a certified Diabetes Educator. She is keen on bringing together her acquired knowledge on nutrition and other health aspects with people’s goals to achieve a healthy life. For her fitness is not being better than someone else; it’s about being better than who we used to be. “We don’t have to be great to start, but we have to start to be great". So give your best! She can be reached at for any consults.

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