Learn about gestational diabetes, including early symptoms to be aware of and the risk factors connected to the diagnose.
This article covers information on gestational diabetes treatment and management, including why it is important and what you can expect.
While some women can manage their condition by following a healthy, balanced diet and keeping active, others may require medication to help control their blood sugar levels. It is important to speak to your doctor about this, as they will be able to provide guidance based on your individual needs and help support you through your pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes is when you develop high blood sugar (glucose) during pregnancy, due to your body’s hormone changes. It has the potential to affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health and therefore it is important that it is identified early and managed appropriately.
The good news is that gestational diabetes usually goes away once you’ve given birth.
Below you will find suggested things to consider if you develop
diabetes during pregnancy. Once identified, gestational diabetes can
be effectively managed and treated, so put your trust in your
healthcare team and follow their guidance.
If you develop gestational diabetes, it is vital to measure your glucose levels every day throughout your pregnancy. Your healthcare team will advise when and how often to do this and tell you what levels to aim for.
In addition to routine ultrasound scans, you may be offered extra scans regularly through your pregnancy, to check how your baby is growing.
Your team will provide guidance on how you can keep active. It’s good to aim for around two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week, which could simply be a half an hour walk every weekday.
Making changes to your diet can help control your blood sugar levels.
You may be advised to eat:
As well as the above, you may also be advised to avoid sugary foods and drinks.
For some women, changing your diet and physical activity is enough to
achieve target blood sugar levels. But for others, treatment for
gestational diabetes may include being given medicine to help control
blood sugar levels. Your healthcare provider may prescribe metformin
or insulin injection based on your medication need.
This tablet helps to reduce the amount of glucose (sugar) produced by the liver, and to make your insulin work properly. It’s taken with, or after, a meal.
Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells and to be used for energy.
Insulin is given as an injection using a small needle just under the skin – usually in the thighs, buttocks and abdomen. Your team will teach you how to administer safely.
The ideal time to give birth if you have gestational diabetes is usually around Weeks 38 to 40. If your blood sugar is within normal levels and there are no concerns about your or your baby’s health, you may be able to wait for labour to start naturally.
During labour your blood sugar will be monitored and controlled,
with an insulin drip if needed. Because of this extra monitoring it is
advised that you should give birth in a hospital where trained
healthcare professionals will be there to support you.
Your baby’s blood sugar level will be tested starting soon after birth. If it’s low, your baby may need to be temporarily fed through a tube or a drip.
Any medicines you were taking to control your blood sugar will usually be stopped after you give birth. You’ll usually be advised to keep checking your blood sugar for 1 or 2 days after you give birth.
If you’re both well, you and your baby will normally be able to go home after 24 hours.
With prompt and appropriate management of your gestational diabetes,
there’s no reason why you won’t go on to have a healthy pregnancy and
birth; your diabetes healthcare team will help every step of the way.
Armed with all the facts and understanding what you and your
healthcare team need to do, you can go on to look forward to the
healthy arrival of your baby.