Ask the Experts
Garden City Hospital is here to help. Now you can browse, search and view answers to frequently asked health questions. Have a personal health question you need answered? We can do that too! Simply submit your question and we will get it to the appropriate GCH health expert for an answer.
Ask the Experts is for general information purposes only. It should never be thought of as medical advice or treatment, nor should it be used in place of a thorough medical screening or an exam by a licensed medical professional. Medical advice should be sought from an emergency room, urgent care center, or licensed medical professional. If you need help finding a physician, use our online physician directory to locate a Garden City Hospital Health Expert that’s right for you.
Check the Sunday issue or your local O&E for more answers from the GCH Health Experts.
Note: Questions are selected both randomly and based on relevance or frequency. Not all submitted questions will be answered. Answers will be posted on GCH.org and not supplied directly to the submitter. To maintain personal privacy, we do not require any personal information be given to submit questions.
How can gestational diabetes affect my baby?
Gestational diabetes affects the mother in late pregnancy, after the baby’s body has been formed, but while the baby is busy growing. Because of this, gestational diabetes does not cause the kinds of birth defects sometimes seen in babies whose mothers had diabetes prior to pregnancy.
However, untreated or poorly controlled gestational diabetes can hurt your baby. When you have gestational diabetes, your pancreas works overtime to produce insulin, but the insulin does not lower your blood glucose levels. Although insulin does not cross the placenta, glucose and other nutrients do. So, extra blood glucose goes through the placenta, giving the baby high blood glucose levels. This causes the baby’s pancreas to make extra insulin to get rid of the blood glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat.
This can lead to fetal macrosomia, or a baby who’s significantly larger than average at birth. Babies with macrosomia can face health risks, including damage to their shoulders during birth. Because of the extra insulin made by the baby’s pancreas, newborns may have very low blood glucose levels at birth and are also at higher risk for breathing problems. Babies with excess insulin become children who are at risk for obesity and adults who are at risk for Type 2 diabetes.