MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: If you have gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, the level of sugar in your bloodstream is higher than normal. The sugar in your blood is called glucose. A hormone in your body, called insulin, acts like a key in a lock, when it attaches to receptors on your cells. The insulin opens your cells so glucose can enter them. Now your cells can use the glucose to produce the energy they need to function properly. A gland called the pancreas makes all the insulin your cells need to use glucose. The exact cause of gestational diabetes isn't known. However, the organ that attaches your baby to your uterus, called the placenta, makes hormones that may prevent insulin from letting glucose into your cells. As a result, the glucose in your blood rises above normal levels in a condition called hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is the hallmark of any type of diabetes. If your blood glucose levels are not kept in the normal range, you may develop complications, such as high blood pressure. In addition, you have an increased risk for premature birth, and cesarean birth, in which your doctor delivers your baby through an incision in your abdomen. Your baby may also be at risk for complications shortly after birth, including excessive birth weight, called macrosomia, low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, a yellow color of your baby's skin, called jaundice, and difficulty breathing. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born. The goal of treating gestational diabetes is to keep your blood glucose in your normal target range. You can do this by creating a healthy eating plan with your health care provider or a registered dietitian. Physical activity and exercise can also help you keep your blood glucose level within your normal target range. Your doctor may ask you to regularly check your blood glucose level with a glucose meter. To check your blood glucose level, you will insert a test strip into your glucose meter. Then you will stick your finger, and place a drop of blood onto the test strip. The glucose meter will measure and display your blood glucose level. If you have gestational diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends the following target ranges for blood glucose level-- 95 or less before a meal, 140 or less one hour after a meal, and 120 or less two hours after a meal. Check with your doctor for your specific target range. If diet and exercise are not able to keep your blood glucose level within your normal target range, your caregiver may prescribe insulin for you, and show you how to give yourself insulin shots. You can help prevent gestational diabetes by getting pre-conceptual counseling, in which you meet with your obstetrician before you get pregnant to plan a healthy pregnancy, losing excess pounds before you get pregnant, getting regular exercise before and during your pregnancy, and eating healthy foods.