Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is found for the first time when a woman is pregnant. Diabetes means that your blood glucose (also called blood sugar) is too high. Your body uses glucose for energy. But too much glucose in your blood can be harmful. When you are pregnant, too much glucose is not good for your baby.
Often, women with gestational diabetes have no symptoms. However, gestational diabetes may:
Untreated or uncontrolled gestational diabetes can mean problems for your baby as well, such as:
Gestational diabetes is serious, even if you have no symptoms. Taking care of yourself helps keep your baby healthy. Treating gestational diabetes means taking steps to keep your blood glucose levels in a target range. You can control your blood glucose using:
Working closely with your health care team will help you give birth to a healthy baby. To learn more about gestational diabetes during pregnancy, including how gestational diabetes will affect you and your baby and important tips for managing gestational diabetes, visit diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/gestational/.
If you had gestational diabetes, you should be tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born. In many cases your blood glucose levels will show that you are no longer considered to have diabetes. But what many people don’t realize is that new moms who had gestational diabetes will continue to have a greater risk for getting diabetes in the future. So even if the test for diabetes is normal right after the baby is born, these women should continue to get tested for diabetes at least every three years.
Additionally, the children of women who have a history of gestational diabetes are also at increased risk for obesity and diabetes. Be sure to tell your child’s pediatrician that you had gestational diabetes so the child’s growth and other factors can be monitored accordingly.
Because of this risk, you need to be tested for diabetes after your baby is born, then at least once every three years. Reduce your risk by taking small steps for you and your family. If you weigh too much, you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes if you lose a small amount of weight and become more active. Your children can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes if they don’t become overweight. Serve them healthy foods and help them to be more active.
Your children can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes if they don’t become overweight. Serve them healthy foods and help them to be more active.
* Information provided by the National Diabetes Education Program, a joint program of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.