Gestational Diabetes

Did You Know?

You could develop gestational diabetes while you are pregnant or future diabetes after delivering a baby weighing more than nine pounds.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy. Having diabetes means you have too much glucose (sugar) in your blood. Your body uses glucose for energy. Too much blood glucose is not good for you or your baby. You can protect your baby and yourself by controlling your blood glucose levels.

Who is at risk for gestational diabetes?

Any pregnant woman can develop gestational diabetes. Your chances of having gestational diabetes are higher if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Previously had gestational diabetes
  • Have given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Have pre-diabetes, meaning your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes
  • Are African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latina, or Pacific Islander American
  • Have a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

When should I see a physician?

If you are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant, make an appointment as soon as possible with your health care provider to assess your risk of gestational diabetes as part of your pregnancy care plan. You will be examined carefully during your regular prenatal check-ups. If you develop gestational diabetes, you may need more frequent check-ups to ensure you and your baby are healthy. These check-ups are likely to take place in the last three months of pregnancy.

Your health care provider will carefully monitor your blood sugar level and your baby’s health. You may be referred to an endocrinologist who will help you manage your blood sugar level. If you develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, your blood sugar level may return to normal after your child is born. However, you should continue to have your blood sugar tested frequently.