The exact cause or causes of what causes gestational diabetes are not known. But there
are risk factors that can increase the chances of getting it. As with any disease, risk
factors are not a guarantee that you will contract the disease they just make the likelihood
of getting it higher. Some of the risk factors you will have control over and some you do
A family history of diabetes will increase the chances of developing gestational diabetes
in pregnancy. The closer the relative is to you (first generation like a parent) means the
risk is increased. If your family suffers from diabetes, your own pancreas may not be
able to produce the amount of insulin necessary while pregnant. This deficit combined
with the hormones released by the placenta can lead to diabetes in pregnancy.
Women who are overweight and are clinically considered obese run a higher risk of being
diagnosed. The excess wait puts a strain on your body, including your pancreas, and
makes it hard for enough insulin to be produced and used by your body effectively.
If you have had a previous baby with a higher than average birth weight, you are
considered at risk for your next pregnancy of getting gestational diabetes. It could have
been possible that you had it in your first pregnancy and it went undiagnosed. Babies
born from moms with diabetes in pregnancy tend to be larger unless her blood sugars are
strictly managed. Or if you had diabetes in your first pregnancy, chances are very high
that you will get it again.
Since there is still no known cause a woman may have all of these factors or none and
still get diabetes. It is best to attend all of your prenatal appointments with your doctor so
he can be on the look out for any signs that you may have gestational diabetes.