Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby's health.

Any pregnancy complication is concerning, but there's good news. Expectant moms can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising and, if necessary, taking medication. Controlling blood sugar can prevent a difficult birth and keep you and your baby healthy.

In gestational diabetes, blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery. But if you've had gestational diabetes, you're at risk for type 2 diabetes. You'll continue working with your health care team to monitor and manage your blood sugar.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

For most women, gestational diabetes doesn't cause noticeable signs or symptoms.

When to see a doctor

If possible, seek health care early — when you first think about trying to get pregnant — so your doctor can evaluate your risk of gestational diabetes as part of your overall childbearing wellness plan. Once you're pregnant, your doctor will address gestational diabetes as part of your prenatal care. If you develop gestational diabetes, you may need more-frequent checkups. These are most likely to occur during the last three months of pregnancy, when your doctor will monitor your blood sugar level and your baby's health.

Your doctor may refer you to additional health professionals who specialize in diabetes, such as an endocrinologist, a registered dietitian or a diabetes educator. They can help you learn to manage your blood sugar level during your pregnancy.

To make sure your blood sugar level has returned to normal after your baby is born, your health care team will check your blood sugar right after delivery and again in six weeks. Once you've had gestational diabetes, it's a good idea to have your blood sugar level tested regularly.

The frequency of blood sugar tests will in part depend on your test results soon after you deliver your baby.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use