Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. It is also known as ‘hyperglycaemia in pregnancy’.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or you have been told you are at risk, it is natural to feel concerned. But gestational diabetes is fairly common: it affects around one in 20 pregnancies.

In the UK, all pregnant women who are considered at risk are offered a test for gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This is because identifying and treating the condition reduces the risks to you and your baby. Women are sometimes surprised to find out they have the condition as it’s often picked up before it shows any obvious symptoms.

There are several medical treatments that can help with gestational diabetes. However, some women are able to manage it through diet and other lifestyle factors. This means that, with the support of your specialist team, you have an important role in keeping you and your baby healthy through your pregnancy.

Read more on gestational diabetes

  • Nurse showing woman test results.

    Risks of gestational diabetes

    If you have gestational diabetes, you will have been told that gestational diabetes holds risks to the mother and baby, but women tell us they are not always clear exactly what those risks are.

  • Woman drinking a glass of water

    Symptoms of gestational diabetes

    Women with gestational diabetes often do not have any symptoms at all, and this is why women are all monitored for it by routine checks in pregnancy.

  • Happy mum and healthy baby.

    Long term implications of gestational diabetes

    For most women, glucose levels return to normal the moment the baby is born, when your hormones return to their natural levels, and you will stop any treatment immediately.

  • Pregnant woman having blood pressure checked.

    Gestational diabetes and your pregnancy

    If you are found to have gestational diabetes, this is likely to be a worrying time for you. It is natural to want your pregnancy to go smoothly and it is normal to be anxious if something unexpected happens.

  • Pregnant woman carrying yoga mat and water bottle.

    Treatment for gestational diabetes

    Gestational diabetes is normally treated using a combination of methods: medication and self-care, including diet and exercise.

  • Woman having blood pressure checked.

    What is gestational diabetes?

    Gestational diabetes is a condition that can develop during pregnancy. It is a type of diabetes – a condition in which your body can’t control the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

  • Happy pregnant woman in hospital bed.

    Gestational diabetes and giving birth

    Today, for women with gestational diabetes, the emphasis is on trying to keep the birth as normal as possible unless there is a particular reason to do things differently.


  1. Diabetes UK (2014) Diabetes facts and stats. Available at:
  2. NHS Choices [accessed August 2014] Gestational diabetes - Complications Review date: 08/2016.
  3. NICE (2015) Diabetes in pregnancy: management of diabetes and its complications from preconception to the postnatal period, National Institute of Health and Care Excellence
  4. NHS Choices (2012) Gestational diabetes - symptoms [accessed August 2014] (Review date: 08/2016)
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Last reviewed on March 1st, 2015. Next review date March 1st, 2018.

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