Managing Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes happens in just over 9% of pregnancies. If you have gestational diabetes, you need to take it seriously. If it’s not treated, it can harm your baby. It can also lead to problems during childbirth.

Every pregnant woman is tested for gestational diabetes, regardless of risk factors or family history. To test for this, you’ll most likely drink a sugary beverage. Then your healthcare provider will do a blood test to test your blood sugar one hour later. If your blood sugar is high, you’ll have another test done to confirm diabetes.  

Lifestyle changes are key

Gestational diabetes can cause problems for you and your baby if it isn’t treated. It can lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy. It also increases your risk of getting type 2 diabetes later in life. Your baby is at risk, too. Your baby may grow too big. This may cause you to deliver by cesarean section (C-section). Your baby may also be born with low blood sugar and breathing problems.

Treating gestational diabetes can help prevent these problems. If you have gestational diabetes, keep your blood sugar in check by having healthy habits. The following nutrition and exercise tips can help:

  • Know that what, how much, and how often you eat affect your blood sugar levels.

  • Eat three small meals and one to three snacks each day.

  • Keep portion sizes small.

  • Choose healthy foods. These include as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.

  • Limit sweets.

  • Try to be active for 30 minutes or more, at least five days a week. Walking or swimming are good ways to help control your blood sugar levels.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPHFoley, Maryann, RN, BSN

Date Last Reviewed: 4/12/2016

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