Gestational Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Gestational Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

27 Sep 2021 | 6 min Read

siddesh iyer

Author | 3 Articles

Diabetes mellitus is a category of disorders characterised by high blood sugar levels, and gestational diabetes, which is a kind of diabetes that develops owing to hormonal changes during pregnancy. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, women who acquire gestational diabetes did not have the condition before pregnancy (NIDDK). Now, let’s understand more about pregnancy diabetes, its symptoms and treatment to cure it. 

How Common is Gestational Diabetes? 

Gestational diabetes is a health condition during pregnancy in which your blood sugar level goes up. Although it is not a typical scenario, around 11% of women are affected by gestational diabetes in India.


There are two types of Gestational diabetes- Class A1 and Class A2. Pregnant women can manage class A1 diabetes through a healthy gestational diabetes diet and exercise, but those with Class A2 diabetes need to take insulin and other medications prescribed by the doctor.

As its name implies, pregnancy diabetes goes away after childbirth, but it can affect your child’s health and increase the chance of getting Type 2 diabetes in the future. However, you can adopt specific steps to keep you and your baby healthy.

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

Women with gestational diabetes do not report any unusual symptoms as diabetes comes out in routine blood tests. Still, there are some of the signs:

  • – Feeling more hungry and eating more
  • – Feeling thirstier than usual.
  • – Frequent urination.

What Causes Gestational Diabetes 

During pregnancy, hormones build up glucose in your blood, and to manage it, your pancreas releases sufficient insulin. But when your body cannot release the required amount of insulin, the blood sugar levels get up, resulting in pregnancy diabetes.

  • It is caused due to placental hormones
  • High blood pressure
  • Hormone disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Overweight
  • Having miscarriages

Risk Factors In Gestational Diabetes 

The following are some of the risk factors for pregnancy diabetes:

  • Obesity and being overweight.
  • Deficiency in physical exercise.
  • Diabetes during pregnancy or prediabetes.
  • Develops pregnancy diabetes due to the intolerance of the placental hormones
  • High blood sugar levels 
  • High blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, or other medical problems.
  • Delivering baby (weighing more than 9 pounds)
  • Older than 25
  • Have given birth to a baby with particular birth problems

Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes

To diagnose gestational diabetes, you will need to go through the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). A doctor will need to collect your blood every 2 to 3 hours to diagnose gestational diabetes symptoms in this diagnosis. If your blood glucose levels are high, you probably have the disease. This pregnancy diabetes is like other kinds of diabetes that get diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. 

Can Gestational Diabetes Be Prevented?

If you’re overweight and do regular physical activity before getting pregnant, you can overcome it. But if you’re already pregnant, don’t try to lose weight. For your baby to be healthy, you’ll need to gain some weight- but not too quickly.  

Gestational Diabetes Treatment

Women can manage pregnancy diabetes with healthy lifestyle changes and a proper diet. 

  • Make Exercise A Habit: Do exercise at least for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week. It will improve your cardiovascular health.
  • Healthy Diet: Keep track of your weight and baby’s development. Concerning the gestational diabetes diet, pick healthy foods with low sugar, and avoid foods with added sugar like cookies, candy, and ice cream. Instead, choose fruits with natural sugars. Keep a watch on your protein intake as well.
  • Diabetic Diet: Start taking a diet that can control and maintain the blood sugar in your body. You can take a diet by avoiding sugar and carbohydrates and drinking less soda drinks.
  • Good Medications: If diet and exercise aren’t enough to control your blood sugar, you can go for insulin injections. Between 10% and 20% of women with gestational diabetes use insulin to achieve their blood sugar targets.
  • Follow-Up After Delivery: Your blood sugar will be checked after birth and again in 6-12 weeks to ensure that it has returned to normal. If your tests are normal, which they usually are, you’ll need to have your diabetes risk reviewed every three years. 

Eat a variety of foods that make your diet nutritionally balanced. Make sure the intake of Saturated fat is less than 10%. You may get a prescribed supplement for Vitamins and Minerals to fill the gap.

Gestational Diabetes Diet and Exercises 

You can control it by eating a well-balanced and healthful diet and some exercise. 

  • You should consume a variety of whole fruits and vegetables.
  • You should intake lean proteins and healthy fats in moderation.
  • Consume good amounts of whole grains, rice, corn and peas, cereal, and vegetables rich in starch.
  • Consume less sugar
  • Start doing aerobic exercises such as swimming, walking, and dancing for about 30 minutes.
  • Do strength exercises as well such as pilates every 2-3 days a week.


Staying fit and active is also vital during pregnancy. Follow good posture as it will further help you to manage backache during pregnancy. Moderate physical activity is suitable for a healthy pregnancy. It additionally lowers blood sugar levels too.


What Happens If Gestational Diabetes Is Not Controlled? 

Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can result in high blood sugar levels. And high blood sugar levels can further increase issues for both you and your baby, including an increased probability of requiring a C-section delivery.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Gestational Diabetes? 

Warning signs of gestational diabetes include sugar in the urine, unusual thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, vaginal, bladder and skin infections.

What Does Gestational Diabetes Do To The Baby?

Obesity and type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop in children when a mother develops gestational diabetes. It can cause the death of a newborn before or shortly after birth.

Is Gestational Diabetes Considered High-Risk Pregnancy?

Due to difficulties that can emerge during pregnancy and childbirth, women with diabetes during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), may require high-risk prenatal care. Preeclampsia, a disorder characterized by high blood pressure caused by pregnancy, is more common in women with GDM.

#pregnancymustknow #pregnancymustknow



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