Gestational Complications for Baby


Women who are able to keep blood sugar levels in a safe range during a pregnancy with gestational diabetes dramatically reduce the risk of complications for their child.

Uncontrolled gestational diabetes increases the risk for the following health problems for your baby:

  • Macrosomia. The fetus stores excess glucose as fat, so in cases of uncontrolled GDM, a baby may be larger than normal at birth, a condition called macrosomnia. Large babies may be more difficult to deliver vaginally, and birth injury is a risk. A cesarean section may also be required.
  • Hypoglycemia. Before birth, the fetus is producing high levels of insulin to combat high maternal blood glucose levels. When the baby is born, he or she is disconnected from the maternal glucose source, and those high insulin levels can cause his own blood sugars to dip dramatically.
  • Jaundice. An excessive amount of bilirubin can cause skin and eye yellowing in baby. Jaundice is treated by exposing a newborn to ultraviolet lights.
  • Low calcium and magnesium. Insufficient levels of calcium and magnesium in the blood can cause muscle cramps and spasms. This condition is easily treated with supplementation.
  • Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Gestational diabetes can cause fetal lungs to develop more slowly; if inadequate levels of lung surfactant are present at birth an infant could have breathing problems.
  • Increased risk for childhood and adult obesity. Children who weigh nine or more pounds at birth are at an increased risk for later weight problems.
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.


1 - American Diabetes Association. ADA Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2010. Diabetes Care, Volume 33, Supplement 1, January 2010.

Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 4/08

Last Modified Date: May 22, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Carey Potash
Charlie’s 12-year anniversary with type 1 just passed and I still know nothing about this diabetes and why it hates us so much. As if to remind us that it was its anniversary, diabetes unleashed hell on Friday. Charlie was stranded well over 400 for hours and even tipped the scale at 580. Susanne pulled Charlie out of school and started what became a wartime exercise in futility. It was one of the worst blood sugar days we’ve had in years. ...