Extra care for women with gestational diabetes

Once you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your pregnancy care will change. This is to make sure that everything is done to reduce the risk of any harm to you and your baby.

You will have more regular appointments and will see more specialist healthcare professionals. 

Extra appointments during your pregnancy

As soon as you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes through tests, you will be offered an appointment with a specialist team within one week. It will probably be at your local pregnancy diabetes clinic and should start to receive extra care straight away.

At this point you should have the HbA1c test to check whether you had type 2 diabetes before you became pregnant. 

You will have contact with the diabetes and antenatal team every one to two weeks throughout your pregnancy. This may be clinic appointments, or by phone or email to check that everything is fine. 

"At first it was quite overwhelming. I was a borderline case but all of a sudden you’ve got a dietician and an obstetrician… Before, it had been just the midwife."Michelle, mum of two

Monitoring your glucose levels

One of the most important things that you will have to do for the rest of your pregnancy is to measure your blood glucose levels at points during each day. Your healthcare team will teach you how to do this for yourself. They will also review you regularly, to check your results and make sure your diet, exercise and any medication are keeping your blood glucose levels under control.

Extra scans

As well as the routine scans offered to all pregnant women, you should be offered extra scans at various points through your pregnancy to check how your baby is growing and how much amniotic fluid you have. The timing of these scans may depend on your individual case.

These scans are important because one of the biggest risks in gestational diabetes is that the baby grows bigger than normal (macrosomia). This can cause complications when it comes to labour and giving birth. The team will need to check your baby’s size regularly and will talk to you about the best options for the birth of your baby. Towards the end of your pregnancy you will be checked very regularly to make sure that all is well.

"I was reassured that they were keeping an eye on me. At least I could see the baby was OK."Gemma, mum of one

Your team will give you plenty of information and advice about your care leading up to and after the birth. From around 38 weeks you will have appointments to check that your baby is doing well.

When to give birth

Your team will advise you to give birth no later than 40 weeks and 6 days if you are in England and Wales. Elective birth (by inducing labour or by caesarean section) will be offered if you have not given birth by this time.

In Scotland, you will be advised to have labour induced within 40 weeks.

Find out who might be involved in your care

Sources

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