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Gestational Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

The majority of women have normal, uncomplicated pregnancies and deliveries. However your LMC will be watchful for pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

Gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)

This can be a complication of pregnancy and its prevalence is increasing in women of all ethnicities

Your body gets its major source of energy from glucose. This requires the assistance of a hormone called insulin, which allows glucose to move from the blood stream to the muscles and other tissues of the body to be used as energy. During pregnancy, insulin production needs to increase four-fold. However hormones from the placenta can sometimes block the normal action of insulin. This is called ‘insulin resistance’ and it’s a problem because it allows glucose to build up in the blood.

Routine testing between 24-28 weeks helps diagnose women who are affected by gestational diabetes. If your test is outside the accepted range, your LMC will refer you to the diabetes midwives for a plan for ongoing care. Gestational diabetes usually disappears shortly after the birth of your baby.

High blood pressure in pregnancy (preeclampsia)

Your blood pressure will be taken at every antenatal visit.

If your blood pressure is raised above acceptable levels on more than one occasion, your LMC will discuss with you the need for further investigations to ensure the wellbeing of you and your unborn baby. Preeclampsia complicates about 8% of pregnancies and is a multi-organ disease unique to pregnancy. It is identified by high blood pressure and protein in your urine, with or without swelling. This is one of the main reasons why your LMC needs to check your BP and urine at every antenatal appointment.

National Women's Health
Phone: 09 307 4949
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