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Does Gestational Diabetes Affect the Baby Too?

Does Gestational Diabetes Affect the Baby Too?

Gestational diabetes develops only during pregnancy. It’s a type of diabetes that develops when your body can’t produce enough insulin to meet increased demands during pregnancy. It affects up to 10% of pregnancies in the United States and typically develops around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, which can affect your overall health. If you’re at risk for gestational diabetes (or already diagnosed), you might wonder if it can affect your baby. 

Unfortunately, the answer is yes — gestational diabetes can affect your baby too. 

The good news is that our team here at Westover Hills Women’s Health provides prenatal care for low-risk and high-risk pregnancies, which includes mothers with gestational diabetes.

In the meantime, here’s a look at how gestational diabetes can affect your baby and what you can do to manage your blood sugar levels.

How gestational diabetes can affect your baby

Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of the following conditions in your baby.


One of the primary concerns with gestational diabetes is the increased risk of  macrosomia, a condition where your baby grows larger than average. Fetal macrosomia is defined as a baby who is born weighing more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces.

Larger babies may face difficulties during delivery, including an increased risk of shoulder dystocia. If your baby grows too big, you may need to consider a C-section delivery to avoid complications during a vaginal birth.

Hypoglycemia at birth

Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes may experience low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth. Screening within 12 hours of birth can detect any issues so your baby can be treated quickly.

Respiratory distress syndrome

Some babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes may be at a higher risk of respiratory distress syndrome. Close monitoring and, if necessary, respiratory support can help manage this condition.

Type 2 diabetes later in life

Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. Healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating healthy and exercising regularly, can reduce this risk.

Obesity later in life

There is an elevated risk of your child developing obesity later in life. But encouraging a healthy lifestyle, including balanced nutrition and regular physical activity, can mitigate this risk just like it helps prevent Type 2 diabetes.

How can you manage gestational diabetes

Regular prenatal checkups and diabetes screenings help to detect and manage gestational diabetes. We include gestational diabetes screenings as part of your routine prenatal care.

If you develop gestational diabetes, we can help you manage the condition with:

Even if you have prediabetes or elevated blood sugar, diet and exercise changes can help you avoid a full-blown gestational diabetes diagnosis. 

Get care beyond pregnancy and childbirth

Our midwifery team knows that gestational diabetes care doesn’t end at childbirth. After delivery, both you and your baby require postnatal monitoring to address any potential complications promptly. 

If you have concerns about gestational diabetes or need to schedule your next appointment, call the San Antonio, Texas, location closest to you. You can also click here to get started.

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