The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant. The rates of serious kidney disease have dropped significantly in recent years, likely due to improvements in diabetes management.
People with diabetes also have a higher risk of some cancers. But the reasons aren’t clear. It may be that the factors that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes also increase the risk of cancer, or it may be a factor of the disease or its treatment. This is an active area of research, but no changes in treatment are recommended.
Most women who have gestational diabetes deliver healthy babies. However, untreated or uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause problems for you and your baby.
Complications in your baby can occur as a result of gestational diabetes:
Extra glucose can cross the placenta, which triggers your baby’s pancreas to make extra insulin. This can cause your baby to grow too large (macrosomia). Very large babies are more likely to require a C-section birth. Sometimes babies of mothers with gestational diabetes develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth because their own insulin production is high. Prompt feedings and sometimes an intravenous glucose solution can return the baby’s blood sugar level to normal.