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Understanding Gestational Diabetes (GDM) 

So Why Choose MaMome's Maternal Microbiome Test?

What is GDM?

GDM stands for gestational diabetes mellitus.  It affects around 9% of pregnancies in the US and up to 15% globally.  It is one of the most common pregnancy complications.  During pregnancy, it’s common for your body to have an imbalance in insulin release or your body’s response to insulin.  This results in higher blood sugars leading to gestational diabetes. 


GDM can have a range of pregnancy complications including a baby’s that larger than normal, preterm birth, and preeclampsia – a condition where your high blood pressure becomes too high and causes even more complications.  Having a baby that’s too large can result in significant shoulder injuries to the baby during delivery, more bleeding during vaginal delivery, and a higher risk of needing a C-section.

What are the long-term complications of GDM?

As the name implies, gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs only in pregnancy.  However, about 50% of women who develop GDM go on to develop type 2 diabetes.  Women with GDM also have a higher risk of post-partum depression, metabolic diseases, and cardiovascular disease.  GDM has also been associated with a higher rate of cancers later in life, such as ovarian, endometrial, and breast cancer.

For the infant, having a mother with GDM has a higher risk of diabetes, obesity, and neurologic or psychiatric diseases.

Two women holding each others hands

What are the risk factors for GDM?

Gestational diabetes is a pregnancy complication that can impact both mother and baby. Key risk factors include:

  • History of Diabetes: Personal or family history of type 2 diabetes.

  • Age: Women over 25 are at higher risk.

  • Obesity: Higher risk if you are overweight or obese.

  • Previous Gestational Diabetes: Having it in a prior pregnancy.

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Increases the risk.

  • Ethnicity: Higher risk in African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian women.

  • Previous Large Baby: Delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.

A women taking some notes during her televisit to the doctor

How is GDM diagnosed and what are the limitations?

The diagnosis happens in the late 2nd trimester around 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.  Currently, the “gold standard” test is something called an oral glucose challenge test.  This test involves going to a doctor’s office and drinking a sugary drink.  Either a nurse or lab technician will measure your blood sugar levels in response to the sugary drink.  Too high a number indicates gestational diabetes.

While this is a well-vetted test, the current way GDM is diagnosed is fairly late in the pregnancy.  Furthermore, you can only be diagnosed with gestational diabetes after the disease has occurred.  There are currently no accepted tests to better identify patients who are at higher risk of developing GDM and avoid it altogether.

A doctor using a stethoscope on a woman's belly
Targeted Insights

Discover how your gut microbiome can impact your pregnancy and your baby’s health, providing key insights to prevent gestational diabetes and promote optimal maternal and fetal outcomes.

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Receive a comprehensive gut health report and personalized tips, along with the option for a one-on-one consultation with a microbiome specialist.

So Why Choose MaMome's Maternal Microbiome Test?

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