Gestational Diabetes

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a condition in which women develop high blood sugar—or diabetes—during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs in about six to seven percent of pregnancies.

Women with gestational diabetes are at higher risk for other complications of pregnancy including preeclampsia and delivery complications due to larger sized babies. They also have seven times higher risk of developing diabetes after pregnancy and have an increased risk of heart disease later in life. Treating high blood sugar during pregnancy reduces the rates of many of these complications.

How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?

All pregnant women have a test called a glucose tolerance test to check their blood sugar between 24 and 28 weeks to screen for diabetes.

How is gestational diabetes treated?

Treatment for gestational diabetes involves seeing a nutritionist, who will recommend a diet to reduced blood sugar. Moderate exercise is also recommended for treatment. Some women will also require insulin to control their blood sugar during pregnancy.

How can I decrease my risk for gestational diabetes?

Weight loss, healthy diet, and exercise prior to pregnancy may decrease your risk of developing gestational diabetes. After delivery, some studies suggest that breastfeeding may lower the rate of developing diabetes later in life.

Does having gestational diabetes affect my heart health?

Most women with gestational diabetes have normal blood sugar afterwards. But, they are more likely to develop diabetes in future pregnancies and have a seven times higher rate of developing diabetes later in life. Studies have shown too that these women also have a 25% higher risk of developing heart disease so it is important to let your doctor know if you have diabetes during pregnancy.