Gestational diabetes and your mental wellbeing

You might feel worried if you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Here are some tips to help ease any concerns.

Being diagnosed and treated for gestational diabetes affects people in different ways. Some people seem to take it in their stride, while others find it tougher.

Gestational diabetes can change your pregnancy experience overnight. Some people feel anxious about the possible complications or the long-term impact of gestational diabetes. Others worry about it affecting their birth plan.

“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, such as diet and exercise. But if you do develop gestational diabetes, it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Anyone can develop it.”


Try to remember that most people who develop diabetes in pregnancy have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, as long as their condition is diagnosed and managed well

You’ll have extra care during your pregnancy and labour, from a specialist team who you will see often. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions. It’s vital that you know 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 in 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. You do have a lot on your plate. Try to find ways to relax. Accept help from your partner, if you have one, as well as from friends and family. 

Some self-care tips you might want to try:

  • Take time for yourself every day – whether it’s chilling to some music, massaging your bump, reading a book, taking a warm bath or trying some meditation.
  • Talk it out – share your worries with a trusted partner, friend or family member. Or join an online support group where you can chat to others going through the same thing.
  • Get active – not only is gentle exercise great for your mental health, it may help to control your gestational diabetes, too.
  • Accept help – let friends and family know what they can do to make your life easier.
  • Get plenty of rest – try not to overdo it at work or at home, and put your feet up when you can, so you don’t get too tired.
  • Eat well – a healthy, balanced diet can boost your mood, as well as helping to keep your gestational diabetes under control.

We have lots more information about how to look after your mental wellbeing during pregnancy.

Asking for help

Pregnancy can be emotional, especially if you have complications such as gestational diabetes. 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. 

Your pregnancy care team is also there to help. You won’t be judged for how you feel. They know that it can be tough to come to terms with a 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."


Depression and anxiety

If you had depression or anxiety before you got pregnant, or if you feel like you’re struggling now, let your midwife or doctor know. Many Trusts can provide rapid access mental health support for pregnant patients.

Pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes can be hard to deal with. If you’re also struggling to manage your mental health, it’s likely to be even tougher to do what’s needed to keep yourself and your baby healthy. No one will judge you. Your healthcare team, will completely understand if you feel you need some extra help.

Getting support straight away will help you to have a healthier, happier pregnancy and baby.

Gestational diabetes and postnatal depression

People who have gestational diabetes may be more likely to develop postnatal depression (PND) after their baby is born. This could be due to the stress of managing the condition, or due to the diabetes itself.

PND is common, affecting at least 1 in 10 people within a year of giving birth. If you get it, you don’t have to suffer in silence: help is available.

Make sure you and your loved ones are aware of the symptoms of PND to look out for. Don’t hesitate to contact your midwife, health visitor or GP if you’re struggling.

“At first, I felt like I was failing, but talking to others with similar experiences helped me to feel less alone.”


More help and support

Diabetes UK's Support Forum is an online community where you can share knowledge and experiences with other people who have diabetes in pregnancy. Many people we speak to find Gestational Diabetes UK very helpful, too. They have a support group on Facebook.

The Tommy's Midwives' Helpline is a free-phone line open 9-5, Monday to Friday for anyone who needs advice, reassurance or support on any pregnancy or planning for pregnancy issue, including mental health. The number is 0800 0147 800.

The midwives will also answer your questions by email on [email protected]

Find out more about your mental wellbeing in pregnancy, including tips for improving your mental health and getting help and support.


Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Diabetes UK (2021) Gestational diabetes - Information for you. Available at: (Accessed 27 March 2024) (Page last reviewed 09/2021)

NICE (2020) Diabetes in pregnancy: management from preconception to the postnatal period. NICE guideline 3. Available at: (Accessed 27 March 2024) (Page last reviewed 16/12/2020) 

Azami et al (2019) 'The association between gestational diabetes and postpartum depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis'. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 149:147-155. 

NHS (2022) Postnatal depression. Available at: (Accessed 27 March 2024) (Page last reviewed 04/08/2022. Next review due 04/08/2025)

Review dates
Reviewed: 27 March 2024
Next review: 27 March 2027