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.

The important thing to remember is that if you follow the advice, you can help reduce the risks to you and your baby. For most women, having gestational diabetes will mean the following:

This does mean that your experience of pregnancy may be different from what you had expected. But there is support out there – from your diabetes team and from your midwife.

"Gestational diabetes sounded like something small to me, but it was big. It changes your whole pregnancy – I couldn’t have the birth I wanted. It preyed on my mind and I started creating problems in my head, but looking at my son, you’d never know that anything had happened at all."Kate, mum of one

As it is a ‘warning’ of possible later type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes gives you the chance to make lifestyle changes that may reduce your risks of developing diabetes in later life.

If you are finding things difficult, it can help to talk things through. Try to share your fears with a friend or loved one, or call one of the midwives on the Tommy’s PregnancyLine on 0800 0147 800, or call the DiabetesUK Careline on 0345 123 2399 or chat with others on the Diabetes UK forum.

If you are especially worried about anything or would like to talk to someone in person, call one of the midwives at Tommy’s Pregnancy Line on 0800 0147 800.

Read more about extra care in pregnancy for gestational diabetes

Read more on gestational diabetes

  • Premature baby in incubator.

    Gestational diabetes and premature birth

    Diabetes is a condition in which there is an inability to control blood sugar levels and it leads to high amounts of sugar in the blood. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy.

  • Woman having blood sugar level check by health professional.

    Gestational diabetes

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

Treatment for gestational diabetes

  • Infographic that reads 'the glycaemic index'

    Understanding the glycaemic index

    The glycaemic index is a measure of how quickly sugars are released into the bloodstream.

  • Woman's feet standing on scales

    Managing your weight and gestational diabetes

    Women who are overweight are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, although many women who develop it are not overweight at all.

  • Pregnant woman swimming.

    Staying active with gestational diabetes

    Exercise during pregnancy has a wide range of benefits for you and your baby. If you have gestational diabetes, you have even more reason to exercise: it can help reduce your blood glucose.

  • A bowl of tuna nicoise salad.

    Meal ideas for diabetes

    These meal ideas offer some suggestions for meals that could help control your glucose levels, but you will need to use trial and error to find out what works best for you.

  • A plate of healthy food.

    Healthy eating with gestational diabetes

    If you have diabetes in pregnancy, your choice of food is an important part of managing your condition.

  • 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.

  • Screenshot from video of how to test your glucose levels.

    Monitoring your own glucose levels

    If you have gestational diabetes, measuring your own blood glucose levels will become something you do regularly. It’s very important - it helps to guide your treatment and lifestyle, to reduce the risks for you and your baby.

  • Woman testing her glucose levels.

    Treatment - diabetes self-care

    Once you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you will need to monitor your blood glucose through each day. Depending on what your healthcare team have said, you may also be prescribed some tablets or insulin injections.

Sources

  1. Diabetes UK (2014) Diabetes facts and stats. Available at:http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Documents/About%20Us/Statistics/Diabetes-key-stats-guidelines-April2014.pdf
  2. NHS Choices [accessed August 2014] Gestational diabetes - Complications http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/gestational-diabetes/Pages/Complications.aspx 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 https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng3
  4. NHS Choices (2012) Gestational diabetes - symptoms [accessed August 2014] http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/gestational-diabetes/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Review date: 08/2016)
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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.

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