Researchers assumed that the main causes of gestational diabetes are environmental factors, hormonal changes and metabolic demands of pregnancy together with genetic.
One risk factor for gestational diabetes is having family history of diabetes. Scientists found that genes play a role in its development. Genetics also explain why this condition occurs more frequently in American Indians, Latinos and African Americans. Most gene variants or combinations of variants can increase a woman’s risk in having gestational diabetes.
Insulin Resistance and Beta Cell Dysfunction
Women who are in their late pregnancy experience insulin resistance due to hormones produced by the placenta and other pregnancy-related factors. In particular, insulin resistance adds the amount of glucose levels. Gestational diabetes occurs when the pancreas is not capable in producing enough insulin because of beta cell dysfunction.
As with Type 2 Diabetes, excess weight is related to gestational diabetes. Women who are obese or overweight is at higher risk for gestational diabetes because they begin pregnancy with a higher need for insulin due to insulin resistance. Also, excessive weight during pregnancy can also increase risk. After delivery, most women’s hormones usually return to normal level and gestational diabetes disappears. However, women who have gestational diabetes can acquire gestational diabetes with future pregnancies and develop type 2 diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes should be tested for persistent diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after delivery and at least every 3 years subsequently. Hence, doctors advise women especially pregnant women to have good body weight to prevent higher risk of gestational diabetes.
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