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Gestational Diabetes

pregnancy.jpgWhat is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops or is first recognized during pregnancy, caused by the hormones of pregnancy or a shortage of insulin. It occurs in some women in the late stages of pregnancy. Although this form of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, a woman who has had it is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women - about 135,000 cases in the United States each year. 

Gestational Diabetes Management Collaborative
Final Reports​

How do I know if I am at risk?
  • You are at risk for gestational diabetes if you had a previous pregnancy with gestational diabetes.
  • Had a baby born weighing over 9 pounds
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Are more than 25 years old
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
  • Are being treated for HIV
How can I find out if I have gestational diabetes?
  • Most women are screened for gestational diabetes at 24-28 weeks gestation during prenatal care.
  • If you or your health care provider has concerns, your health care provider may screen you earlier.
Why is gestational diabetes a problem?
For you:
  • Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is increased.
  • You are more likely to have a large baby (a condition known as macrosomia). This may cause discomfort during the last few months of pregnancy.
  • Having a large baby may lead to a cesarean section (C-section). If you had a C-section, it may take longer for you to recover after the birth.
For your baby:
  • Large babies are more likely to suffer from birth trauma.
  • Soon after delivery, your baby may have low blood sugar. This can be treated with early feedings and should not result in any long-term consequences after birth.
  • What can I do during pregnancy if I have gestational diabetes?
  • Go to all of your prenatal visits.
  • Follow your health care providers’ recommendations for controlling your blood sugar. This can help reduce your risk of having a large baby.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Ask your health care provider to see a dietician or a diabetes educator.
What can I do after my pregnancy to reduce my chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the future?
  • Follow up regularly with your health care provider.
  • Get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born, then every 1 to 3 years.
  • Stay physically active.
  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Ask your health care provider about type 2 diabetes prevention and care after delivery.
  • Ask to see a dietitian or a diabetes educator to learn more about type 2 diabetes prevention.   
Health Promotion and Chronic Disease
350 Capitol Street, Room 514  Charleston, WV 25301-3715
Ph: (304) 356-4193 Fx: (304) 558-1553