What it means to be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes

Diabetes developed during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs when insulin builds up in your body because it cannot be used correctly (known as insulin resistance). A diagnosis of gestational diabetes usually happens late in a pregnancy and does not mean you had diabetes prior to your pregnancy.

What to consider after a diagnosis

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your health care team will consult with you to develop a treatment plan to help you keep your glucose (sugar) levels in the appropriate range—so you and your baby can stay healthy and you can prevent having diabetes after you deliver.

According to the American Diabetes Association, treatment for gestational diabetes involves the following:¹

  • Special meals: The foods you eat directly correlate to your blood sugar levels. When you have gestational diabetes, your blood glucoseThe food you eat gets digested and broken down into a sugar your body's cells can use. This is glucose, one of the simplest forms of sugar.X levels should be in line with those of pregnant women without the disease. Your team of health care professionals can help develop a particular meal plan for you to follow.
  • Exercise: Incorporating physical fitness into your routine helps keep your blood glucose levels in a healthy range. Simple lifestyle changes can help you be more active every day.
  • Daily glucose tests: Your health care team will help you understand the appropriate blood glucose targets you should aim for according to your meal times. They will also work with you to determine if you need injections of insulin.

It is important to follow the gestational diabetes treatment plan your health care team provides you in order to make sure you have a healthy pregnancy. After you deliver your baby, work with your team to create a nutrition and exercise plan that can help lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes down the line.

1. American Diabetes Association, "Gestational Diabetes," accessed July 2014, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/?loc=db-slabnav.


American Diabetes Association, "Diabetes Myths," accessed July 2014, http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/?loc=db-slabnav.

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