Pre-Gestational vs. Gestational Diabetes – What’s the Difference?

Up to 90% of diabetes cases during pregnancy are those of women developing gestational diabetes.


Diabetes can be a big concern for women during pregnancy. It raises blood sugar levels to hazardous levels for mom and baby and can cause a variety of complications. Even women who have never elevated blood sugar levels can develop gestational diabetes when pregnant.

Gestational Diabetes

There are a lot of hormones flowing through the pregnant body. Some of them, like human placental lactogen, help raise levels of glucose to ensure the baby has enough energy for growth and also increase mom’s insulin resistance. Other hormones, like progesterone, reduce the mother’s insulin production so that her body doesn’t just absorb all of that extra sugar and take it from the baby.

Sometime’s mom’s blood sugar rises above normal levels for an extended period. When this happens she has gestational diabetes. One of the main problems with gestational diabetes is an increased risk for the usual diabetes complications, and macrosomia or a big baby. This doesn’t seem like a major issue, but the baby becomes stressed, grows larger than normal organs, and even gets so big that injury occurs during passage through the birth canal.

Pre-Gestational Diabetes


When a woman who already has diabetes becomes pregnant she is diagnosed with pre-gestational diabetes. There are different concerns for mom and baby with this condition. Gestational diabetes tends to develop in the third trimester after the baby’s body has developed, but is still growing. When women have pre-gestational diabetes, they could have elevated blood sugar levels during the entire pregnancy.

Pre-gestational diabetes affects the development of the baby’s body and can lead to birth defects, such as problems with their organs. It can also lead to miscarriage early on. Those with pre-gestational diabetes are also at a higher chance of needing a cesarean section during labor. So, diabetics need to work closely with their doctors to maintain a healthy pregnancy.


What is Gestational Diabetes? URL Link. Accessed September 6th, 2017.

Diabetes in pregnancy | Reproductive system physiology | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy (Video). URL Link. Accessed September 6th, 2017.

Pre-gestational Versus Gestational Diabetes in the U.S. URL Link. Accessed September 6th, 2017.


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