If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes

If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes

Advice, information and support

If you have gestational diabetes, your care team should tell your GP, and you should be referred to a joint diabetes and antenatal clinic within 1 week.

Your care team should explain to you what having gestational diabetes means for you and your baby. You are more likely to have a large baby, which means there is a greater chance of problems for you and your baby during the birth. You may need to have your labour induced and/or a caesarean section. Your baby is also more likely to have low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia) when he or she is born.

However, keeping your blood glucose at the right level reduces the chances of these problems. Your care team should give you advice and information about gestational diabetes and how to stay healthy during pregnancy. This should include the following:

  • How to check your blood glucose, and what levels to aim for.

  • Advice about a healthy diet, including eating foods with a low glycaemic index (GI) – that is, foods that have a small effect on blood glucose levels. You should be referred to see a dietitian.

  • Advice about taking regular exercise, such as walking for 30 minutes after a meal.

Treatment

The treatments you are offered will depend on your blood glucose levels and your own preference. Many women will start with changes to their diet and taking more exercise. But if your blood glucose is very high, or doesn't fall enough after 1 to 2 weeks, you may be offered medication:

  • a tablet called metformin

  • insulin injections as well as or instead of metformin

  • a tablet called glibenclamide – but only if metformin and insulin don't work very well or aren't suitable for you.

Questions you might like to ask if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes

  • What is gestational diabetes? How will it affect me and my baby?

  • How should I change my diet? Which foods should I avoid and which ones should I eat?

  • How much exercise should I do? What kind of exercise is safe while I am pregnant?

  • Is it safe to lose weight when I'm pregnant?

  • How do I test my own blood glucose? What do the results mean?

  • Will I need to take medication? Will I have to inject myself?

  • How long will I need to have treatment for?

  • Will I still have diabetes after my baby is born?

  • How long will I need to stay in hospital for after the birth?

  • Will my baby have diabetes?

  • Information Standard