A type of diabetes present only during pregnancy was noted in 1882. However, it was not until the 1940s that the term "gestational diabetes" appeared in medical literature. This form of the disease is difficult to distinguish from type II diabetes because a woman could have diabetes before pregnancy but not have it diagnosed until pregnancy. Babies born to diabetic mothers usually are large but may have immature organ systems, in which case they may not survive.
In general, cities in the United States report a higher prevalence of gestational diabetes than do European cities. The highest reported rate of gestational diabetes occurs among the Pima Indians of Arizona, who also have the highest prevalence of type II diabetes of any known population.
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