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Gestational Diabetes - Risks, Causes, Prevention!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012
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Gestational Diabetes

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational Diabetes is diabetes that is found for the first time when a woman is pregnant. The expecting mother develops large amount of sugar in her blood which generally resolves itself after baby's birth - unlike other types of diabetes which are lifelong conditions.

How does Gestational Diabetes develop?

Gestational diabetes develops when the body cannot produce enough insulin - a substance produced by pancreas which regulates the amount of sugar available in the blood for energy and enables any sugar that isn't immediately required to be stored. The pregnant women has to produce extra insulin to meet baby's needs, if her body can't manage this, she may develop gestational diabetes. Blood sugar levels may also rise because the hormonal changes of pregnancy interfere with insulin function. Gestational diabetes usually develops during the last half of pregnancy.

Risk Factors

•    Women who are obese.
•    Women with high blood pressure
•    Women listed positive for sugar in urine during antenatal checkup.
•    Women who are above 25yrs of age.
•    Women with family history of type 2 diabetes.

How is Gestational Diabetes Treated?

Gestational Diabetes can be treated by keeping blood glucose level in a target range. Proper diet, physical activity and insulin if required plays important role in maintaining blood glucose levels.

•    Dietary Tips

1.    Have small frequent meals i.e. six small meals in a day.
2.    Limit sweets.
3.    Include more and more fiber in your diet in form of fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread and cereals.
4.    Carbohydrates should be 40%-45% of the total calories with breakfast and a bedtime snack containing 15-30 grams of carbohydrates.
5.    Drink 8-10 glasses of liquids/day.
6.    Avoid Trans fats, fried foods.

•    Physical activity

1.    Reach and maintain a reasonable weight.
2.    Be physically active for 30 min. most days.
Physical activity can help the mother reach her blood glucose targets.

•    Take insulin as directed, if your doctor decides you need this medicine. Insulin is not harmful to your baby.

How Gestational Diabetes affects pregnancy?

•    Excess growth: Extra glucose will cross the placenta, which triggers your baby's pancreas to make extra insulin, which means baby will grow larger and therefore there will be chance of C-section.

•    Jaundice: Baby may develop jaundice and have breathing problems if he has to be born surgically.

•    Type 2 diabetes later in life.

•    Babies of mother who have gestational diabetes have higher risk of developing obesity and type2 diabetes later in life.



User Comments

24 February, 2014 | Okereke Ebere | Reply

Okereke Ebere Is it true that once insulin is taken that it will be a continuous process

24 July, 2013 | usha | Reply

usha HI 27 weeks pregnant my blood sugar level is 200 & 220mg/dl(after 1 hr & 2hr of 75 gm glucose)is it a gestational diabetes or am a diabetic even i am not pregnant because in the first 3 months of pregnancy the sugar level was normal but it is now high and my father is a diabetic patient

02 June, 2013 | mrs. suman | Reply

mrs. suman i m 9 months pregnant. i did glucose tolerance in this month only. result is blood glucose (2 hrs) is 162mg/dl and after 3 hrs is 184mg/dl. some say its not a serious problem, it will disappear after delivery. some say it will affect the baby. fully confused.. please guide me... i m taking insulin... strict diet and exercises and breathing exercises are also going on..

04 April, 2013 | MANISH | Reply



My Wife is now 29 weeks pregnant, she recently given glucose tolerance test and the report came as follows:

After 100GMS of Oral Glucose.
Fasting Blood Sugar 112.8 MG/DL
1 Hour Blood Sugar 183.2 MG/DL
2 Hour Blood Sugar 165.9 MG/DL

Please advice whether above figures are at risky levels and how we can control the sugar level.

I will be really appreciate your guidance.

Best Regards.

01 March, 2013 | shaneeza singh | Reply

shaneeza singh i am 28 weeks and 4 days pregnant, i had lab and ultrasound yesterday. I went to do my lab and the nurse draw the first set of blood then she give me the drink (glucose)drink i pop open the bottle to start drinking i drink some of it and told her oh i had this before and she said when i told her when i was ten weeks i did this test to determined if i am gd she grab the bottle and said oh she is in trouble. My question i was already tested for diabete and the give me that drink to drink i am taking glyburide 1.25mg in the morning and 2.50 in the evening my numbers last nite was 160 before bed please tell me my husband is freaking out for no reason thanks.

28 September, 2012 | Aparna Duggirala | Reply

Aparna Duggirala Hi I am 26 weeks pregnant and my Fasting BS is 107mg/dl & my blood sugar level is 260 mg/dl(after 1 hrs of 100gm glucose) and 203mg/dl(after 2 hrs of 100gm glucose).Doctor advised to take insulin injection Is it safe.Just little worried whether this will effect my little one. Do I need to take insulin regularly even after pregnancy. But during my 2month test my blood sugar was only 70mg/dl,please give proper advise and guidance.

27 July, 2012 | sheebacollins | Reply

sheebacollins in my GTT test my fasting 88, 1st hr 175, 2nd hr 174, and 3rd hr 116 . so 1 value is high , GDM is 2 value is high , now i want to know should i follow GDM diet ? can i eat sugar free Gold (lactose aspartame and polyvinyl pyrrolidone)? should i must go walking ater every meal ? plz advice.

28 May, 2012 | DINESH | Reply

DINESH My wife is pregnant(2 month)her blood sugar level is 198mg/dl(after 2 hrs of 75 gm glucose).Doctor advised to take insulin injection during her pregnancy.Is it is insulin will be taken even after pregnancy,please give proper advise and guidance.

29 May, 2012 | Vijyalakshmi | Reply

Vijyalakshmi Dear Mr Dinesh, we do understand your anxiety on your wife getting diabetes during her pregnancy (referred to as Gestational Diabetes) but we would like to reassure you that taking Insulin is safe and also vital. It not helps keep the mothers blood sugar under control but since it does not cross the placental barrier it does not harm the baby. I would also like to emphasize that poor diabetes control leading to increase blood sugar levels can harm both the mother and the fetus (unborn baby).
Your wife will have to carefully and regularly monitor her blood glucose level (4-5 times a day) or as per her doctor’s advice and keep a record to show how well diabetes is under control or if she needs better management. However gestational diabetes invariably goes away once the baby is born.
Proper diet management and exercise (even just walking) goes hand in hand with monitoring blood glucose levels and taking insulin injections in the management of diabetes. You are welcome to contact us/ mail us if you need any clarifications or doubts for your wife to enjoy a wonderful and healthy pregnancy.
We also recommend you register with us on and we will help your wife with a good diet and life style management through her pregnancy.
Thank You and all the best to both of you.
Vijayalakshmi Iyengar

28 May, 2012 | Mrinal | Reply

Mrinal Dinesh,
One of our senior dietitians Mrs. Iyengar will contact you shortly by email - pls give Mrs. Iyengar your phone numbers and she will help your wife out. Please don't panic - with proper diet and nutrition and monitoring - all should be well.

16 December, 2011 | rakhi | Reply

rakhi i am 5 weeks pregnant and have been diagnosed with sugar...164 and apprehensive n very scared. Please help. will my baby have defprmities??

16 April, 2011 | Jinesh desai | Reply

Jinesh desai My wife is pregnanent 5th month is complete
on 15th april doctor told me please check the sugar
and after report will be not good.
sugar os 207
it will be 140-170
now what to do??????/

19 April, 2011 | Parul Bhatnagar | Reply

Parul Bhatnagar Gestational diabetes is a condition in which women without previously diagnosed diabetes exhibit high sugar levels. In this nutrition therapy should be initiated after diagnosis..Try to include fiber rich foods, drink plenty of water and take small and frequent meals. Avoid simple sugars , sweets and refined cereals totally.
Please consult your gynecologist for further treatment.

18 April, 2011 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Hello Mr. Desai,

First and foremost, please do not panic about the blood sugar being beyond 200 mg/dl. The main objective now should be to get your wife's blood sugar under control.

Kindly meet with her Ob/Gyn and discuss the blood reports with her. Her doctor will take necessary steps from her side to control the blood sugar and also ask you to discuss with a dietitian about the type of foods she can have to control blood sugars.

You can register with us for a six months program, our dietitians will help in planning a diet and exercise regimen for your wife.

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,

07 July, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy The aim and purpose of treating gestational diabetes should be to control and keep the blood glucose levels equal to that of a normal pregnant women. This can be achieved with a planned meal and scheduled physical activity. Regular blood glucose testing and insulin may also be required. Gestational diabetes should be taken care off properly to avoid cesarean section of birth due to the increased weight of the baby.

Nutritionvista has programs for pregnancy and gestational diabetes. Contact us for more information.

26 June, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain Women who have had gestational diabetes are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future, especially if they have family history and obesity as risk factor. So, even if their blood glucose levels are back to normal post pregnancy, they should be regularly screened and eat balanced diet and maintain adequate physical activity to prevent development of type 2 diabetes.

Kanika Jain

21 June, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar Hello Richa
I suggest you consult your gynecologist when it comes to find out about medication for a pregnant woman, our forte is diet and health. Please feel free to ask any questions on diet, we will be only too glad to clarify any doubts and have a healthy pregnancy.
Thank you
Vijayalakshmi Iyengar
Sr. Dietitian

21 June, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain Dear Richa,
Oral blood glucose lowering medications are not routinely used in pregnancy. Though there are studies to show they may be safely used, however it is not general practice.Insulin is preferred treatment for GDM.

Kanika Jain

21 June, 2010 | Richa | Reply

Richa Hello,
I have a question, can oral hypoglycemic agents be used for treating GDM?

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Tags: Diabetes, Diabetes Management, Diabetes Prevention, Diet, Folic Acid, Gestational Diabetes, Nutrition, Nutrition Counseling, Obesity / Weight Loss, Pre-Diabetes, Pregnancy / Lactation, Screening, Type 2 Diabetes - Insulin Dependent Diabetes, Women's Health


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