Gestational Diabetes: Overview

GD - Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that gets developed in women during pregnancy and it is characterized by sudden high blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes has an impact on how your cells utilize sugar (glucose). GD increases high blood sugar levels, which can influence pregnancy and the baby's health.

During pregnancy, one can easily control gestational diabetes by eating nutritious meals, exercising, and taking medication on time. Blood sugar control will help you and your baby stay healthy and avoid a traumatic delivery.

If you have gestational diabetes, your blood sugar levels should return to normal shortly after the baby is born. The women suffering from gestational diabetes have higher chances of developing type 2 diabetes. It is important to check blood sugar levels more frequently.


Most of the time, gestational diabetes has no apparent signs or symptoms. Increased thirst and increased urination are two potential symptoms.

When should you see a doctor?

During pregnancy, it is important to visit your doctor in the early phases so that the doctor can assess the risk of gestational diabetes as well as your general health. Screening for gestational diabetes is part of prenatal care.

If you get gestational diabetes, you may require more frequent assessments. This will happen during the first trimesters of pregnancy, when your doctor will regularly monitor your blood sugar levels and health of the baby.


The exact cause of gestational diabetes is not found as it affects only some women during pregnancy.

Excess weight before pregnancy can be a factor that causes it. Usually, multiple hormones work together to maintain blood sugar levels stable. However, hormone levels vary during pregnancy, making it more difficult for the body to metabolize blood sugar properly. This causes blood sugar levels to increase.

Risk factors

The following are risk factors for gestational diabetes:


When it comes to preventing gestational diabetes, there is no guarantee, but the more good habits one may adopt throughout pregnancy, the better the health of both the baby and the mother. Making these smart choices might reduce your risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes or experiencing gestational diabetes again in the future if you've already experienced it.

  • Consume healthy foods :Consume healthy foods during pregnancy including fiber-rich foods and foods that are low in fat and calories. Priority should be given to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Perform some physical activity :Exercising before and throughout pregnancy can aid in the prevention of gestational diabetes. Try to do at least 10 to 20 minutes of easy physical activity like slow walking, yoga, breathing exercises etc.
  • Begin your pregnancy at a healthy weight :If you are planning to become pregnant, decreasing excess weight before conception may help you have a healthy pregnancy. Focus on long-term changes to your dietary habits that will help you throughout pregnancy, such as increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.
  • Don't be overweight :Gaining weight when pregnant is normal and healthy. However, gaining too much weight too rapidly increases your chance of developing gestational diabetes. Ask the doctor about how much weight gain is normal during the pregnancy phase.


Between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, you will almost certainly have a screening test if you have a medium risk of gestational diabetes.

Your healthcare provider may perform a diabetes test early in pregnancy, most frequently during your first prenatal visit, if you have a high risk of developing the disease, such as if you were overweight or obese prior to becoming pregnant, have a parent who has diabetes, or if you have ever had gestational diabetes.

Following are some screening tests that the doctor may suggest:

  • Glucose challenge test :In this test a syrupy glucose solution is given to the person and after 60 minutes the blood test will be done to check the blood sugar level. A blood sugar level of 190 milligrammes per deciliter (mg/dL) or 10.6 millimoles per litre (mmol/L) will indicate gestational diabetes in the report.
    On a glucose challenge test, a blood sugar level which shows reading lesser than 140 mg/dL or 7.8 mmol/L is generally taken as the normal range, however sometimes it can also vary. If your blood sugar level is more than predicted, another glucose tolerance test will be required to check whether you have gestational diabetes or not.
  • Follow-up glucose tolerance testing :The sweet solution contains more sugar in this test, and the blood sugar is tested every hour for three hours, same like the first test. If at least two of your blood sugar levels are higher than usual, you will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.


Treatment options for gestational diabetes are:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels
  • Medication
  • Lifestyle changes :Changing sedentary lifestyle to healthy lifestyle habits will help in treating gestational diabetes. Eating a well balanced diet, doing some regular exercise will help.
  • Monitoring of blood sugar levels :During pregnancy, the doctor may advise you to check your blood sugar four to five times each day, ideally shortly after meals, to ensure it remains within a safe range.
  • Medication :To control blood sugar levels, doctors prescribe oral medicines that will also help to keep the blood sugar levels normal. If diet and exercise do not control your blood sugar levels,insulin injections may be required. Only a small percentage of women with gestational diabetes require insulin to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Some doctors give oral medication to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Your baby should be carefully monitored :Close monitoring of your baby is critical to your treatment strategy.Ultrasounds and other tests will be done by the doctor to monitor the growth and development of your baby. If you do not go into labor by your due date, your doctor may induce labor. Delivering after your due date raises the likelihood of difficulties for both you and your baby.
  • After-delivery monitoring :Your blood sugar level will be checked immediately after birth and again in 6 to 12 weeks to ensure that it has returned to normal. If your tests return to this range, which they generally do, your diabetes risk will need to be checked every three years.

Do's and Don'ts

Following are some sets of do's and don'ts to be followed during pregnancy if you have risk of Gestational Diabetes:

Do’s Don't
Get regular checkups for diabetes and baby’s health. Take stress
Take proper nutrients and vitamins. Skip breakfast
Perform some regular exercises Eat foods like potatoes, french fries, white rice, candy, and other sweets.
Monitor blood sugar levels daily Forget to take diabetes medicines on time.
Take enough rest Drink sweet drinks and soda beverages.

Gestational diabetes can be difficult for and problematic for baby and mother. Follow above tips for a healthy pregnancy.

Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted team of doctors and medical experts who are experienced in providing excellent healthcare services to patients with compassion and care. Our diagnostic department is equipped with modern technology and equipment to conduct the tests required for the diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes. We have an excellent team of endocrinologists who diagnoses and treat this condition with utmost precision that brings successful treatment outcomes.

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