Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy. Some women are able to manage it by eating a healthy, balanced diet, staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. Others may need to take 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 18% of pregnant women. There are some things that increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes, but any pregnant woman can develop it.

In the UK, all pregnant women who are considered at risk are offered a test for gestational diabetes during pregnancy.  Women are sometimes surprised to find out they have the condition because it’s often picked up before it shows any obvious 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.”


There are several medical treatments that can help with gestational diabetes. However, some women are able to manage it by eating a healthy, balanced diet, staying active and maintaining a healthy weight.

Some women feel anxious about the potential complications or the long-term impact of gestational diabetes. Others feel worried about the diagnosis affecting their birth plan. Try to remember that most women who develop gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies if their condition is diagnosed and carefully managed and treated.

Information about gestational diabetes


Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2013) Gestational diabetes

NICE (2015). Diabetes in pregnancy: management from preconception to the postnatal period. National Institute for health and care excellence

NHS Choices. Gestational Diabetes (Page last reviewed: 06/08/2019. Next review due: 06/08/2022)

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    Last reviewed on July 20th, 2020. Next review date July 23rd, 2023.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
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