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It is possible to develop gestational diabetes with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing gestational diabetes. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:

Obesity or Overweight

Studies found that women with a body mass index (BMI) of 25.0 to 29.9 (classified as overweight) are at an increased risk of gestational diabetes. If your BMI is over 30, you are at an even greater risk.

Gestational Diabetes in a Previous Pregnancy

If you had gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy, this puts you at risk for developing the condition again.

Age

Being older (such as, 35 years or older) may increase your risk of gestational diabetes.

Family History of Diabetes

If you have a first-degree relative (parents, siblings) with diabetes, your risk of gestational diabetes is increased.

Race

You may be at an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes if you are:

  • Hispanic American
  • Native American
  • Asian American
  • African American
  • Pacific Islander
Previous Delivery of a Large Baby

If you delivered a baby who was abnormally large at birth (called macrosomia), this increases your chance of gestational diabetes in your next pregnancy.

Other Risk Factors
  • Having a history of glucose intolerance
  • Having a history of polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Being pregnant with more than one fetus (multiple gestation)
  • Gaining weight rapidly during pregnancy
  • Sleep-disordered breathing—abnormal breathing during sleep ranging from snoring to sleep apnea
  • Having risk factors related to childbirth (such, having a previous stillbirth, having a child with a birth defect, having too much amniotic fluid surrounding baby during pregnancy)

References:

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 11, 2012. Accessed August 17, 2012.

What I need to know about gestational diabetes. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) website. Available at: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/gestational/#7. Updated December 6, 2011. Accessed August 17, 2012.



Last reviewed September 2013 by Andrea Chisholm, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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