Gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. Some people can manage it by eating a healthy diet, keeping active and staying a healthy weight. Others may need medication.

It's natural to feel concerned if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or you have been told you are at risk. But gestational diabetes is fairly common: it affects around it affects around 1 in every 20 pregnancies.

Anyone can get diabetes in pregnancy, but there are some things that increase the risk of gestational diabetes.

In the UK, you will be offered a test for gestational diabetes if you are pregnant and your healthcare team thinks you could be at risk. People are sometimes surprised to find out they have the condition, because this test often finds it before they have symptoms

“Most mums I’ve met who had gestational diabetes have struggled with guilt, particularly in the beginning. Yes, there are ways to reduce your risk of developing the condition, such as diet and exercise. But if you do develop gestational diabetes, it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Anyone can develop it.”


If you have gestational diabetes, you may be able to manage the condition by eating a healthy diet, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight. If these changes are not enough to control your blood sugar (glucose) levels, you will be offered tablets or insulin.

Some people feel anxious about possible complications during pregnancy or birth, or about the long-term impact of gestational diabetes. Others worry about it affecting their birth plan. Bear in mind as well that most people with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, as long as the condition is diagnosed and managed well.

Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Diabetes UK (2021). Gestational diabetes - Information for you. Available at: (Accessed January 2024) (Page last reviewed 09/2021)

Li Y, Ren X, et al. (2020). 'Maternal age and the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis of over 120 million participants'. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. 162:108044.

NHS website (2022). Gestational diabetes. (Accessed January 2024) (Page last reviewed 08/12/2022. Next review due 08/12/2025)

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2020). Diabetes in pregnancy: management from preconception to the postnatal period. NICE guideline 3. Available at: (Accessed January 2024) (Page last reviewed 16/12/2020)

Qiu Y, Zhang X, et al. (2022). 'Association between Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Meta-Analysis'. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 87(2):150–8.


Review dates
Reviewed: 14 February 2024
Next review: 14 February 2027