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Diagnosing and Managing Gestational Diabetes

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is found for the first time when a woman is pregnant. Diabetes means that your blood sugar (also called blood glucose) is too high. Your body uses sugar for energy. But too much sugar in your blood can be harmful. When you are pregnant, too much sugar is not good for your baby.

Often, women with gestational diabetes have no symptoms. However, gestational diabetes may increase your risk of:

  • high blood pressure during pregnancy
  • having a large baby and needing a cesarean section at delivery

More information about managing gestational diabetes during pregnancy is provided in the NIDDK health topic, What I need to know about Gestational Diabetes.

What Should a Woman Who Had Gestational Diabetes Do After Her Baby Is Born?

If you had gestational diabetes, you should be tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born. If test results show that your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes, you should be tested for diabetes every year. If the test is normal, you should get tested for diabetes again in 3 years.

What many women don’t realize is that having a history of gestational diabetes increases their chances of getting diabetes - mostly type 2 - in the future

Additionally, the child born from a pregnancy affected by gestational diabetes may have a greater chance of being obese and developing type 2 diabetes. Be sure to tell your child’s pediatrician that you had gestational diabetes so the child’s growth and other factors can be monitored accordingly.

More information about how to manage these increased risks and keep yourself and your baby healthy is provided in the NIDDK health topic, how to manage these increased risks and keep yourself and your baby healthy.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.

This information is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages people to share this content freely.


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Contact Us

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 Alternate Versions

 
Link to: ADA Diabetes Risk Test - English

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