Being diagnosed and treated for gestational diabetes affects different people in different ways. Some women seem to take it in their stride, while others find it very difficult.
Gestational diabetes can change your pregnancy experience overnight. 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. You’ll also have extra care during your pregnancy and labour from a specialist team who you will see regularly. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions. It’s important that you understand what you need to do during your pregnancy to keep the condition under control.
“I found having gestational diabetes in my second pregnancy more overwhelming than having it in my first, as I had to do the strict diet for longer. I was diagnosed from week 5 and had my baby week 38. The need to plan what to eat or drink every day can be emotionally and mentally exhausting.”
Be kind to yourself
Try to be kind to yourself and recognise that you have a lot on your plate. Try to find ways to relax and accept any help from your partner, if you have one, as well as friends and family.
We have a lot of information about how to look after your mental wellbeing during pregnancy.
Asking for help
Pregnancy can be a very emotional experience. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it may help to talk to someone. Try to share your feelings with someone close to you, such as a partner, friend or relative. Remember that gestational diabetes is common - you may even know someone who has had it before who you could talk to.
If you want to speak to someone with similar experiences, Diabetes UK's Support Forum is an online community where you can share knowledge and experiences with other people with diabetes in pregnancy.
“I have to say that by being diagnosed with gestational diabetes does impact on your wellbeing. At first I felt like I was failing, but talking to others with similar experiences helped me to feel less alone.”
Your pregnancy care team are also there to help. You won’t be judged for how you feel. They understand that it can be difficult to come to terms with pregnancy or birth experience that is different to what you had hoped for.
"I was put in a group of women with gestational diabetes. That was lovely. There was somebody just a few days ahead of me in the whole process, so she could tell me what to expect. It was really good."
You can also speak to our midwives on our pregnancy line on 0800 014 7800 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email us at [email protected].
Women who are overweight are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, although many women who develop it are not overweight at all.
If you have gestational diabetes, exercise can help you manage your condition by reducing your glucose levels.
Eating well is an important part of managing gestational diabetes and staying healthy throughout your pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes is treated by making changes to diet and exercise to manage glucose levels. If this doesn’t work, you may be given medication.
If you have gestational diabetes, measuring your own blood glucose levels will become something you do regularly.
Some women can control their glucose levels through diet and exercise alone, but others will need to take tablets or injections to help control it.
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (2013) Gestational diabetes https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-gestational-diabetes.pdfHide details
ℹLast reviewed on July 23rd, 2020. Next review date July 23rd, 2023.