Gestational diabetes research

Tommy’s is researching how we can prevent women from developing diabetes during pregnancy, and how to help those who do.

Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to control levels of glucose in the blood. Gestational simply means 'relating to pregnancy' – so gestational diabetes is when a woman stops being able to control her blood sugar during pregnancy. This normally means that she isn’t making enough insulin, the hormone that moves glucose from the blood into the cells, where it is used to make energy. Gestational diabetes is fairly common: it affects around one in 20 pregnancies [1], and this is increasing along with obesity. Usually, this form of diabetes disappears after the baby is born.

Gestational diabetes can make it more likely for women to suffer from pre-eclampsia, premature birth and give birth to larger-than-normal babies. Obesity can increase the likelihood of gestational diabetes, but it is still not well understood why some women develop it and others don’t.

That’s why Tommy’s is researching how and why gestational diabetes happens, so we can make sure as many women as possible have safe, uncomplicated pregnancies. Where women do develop diabetes, we are finding most effective ways to treat them so that their babies have the best chance at health.  

Research highlights

Current gestational diabetes research

Completed gestational diabetes research


1. Diabetes UK (2014) Diabetes: facts and stats 2014, Diabetes UK, London, England,

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