What is gestational diabetes? 

Midwife Caron Cooch explains what gestational diabetes is and why it affects some pregnant women.

Find out more about gestational diabetes.

Transcript of What is gestational diabetes?

What is gestational diabetes?


Caron: Gestational diabetes occurs because in pregnancy the body is producing hormones that makes you resistant to insulin, so the body has to produce more insulin to do the same job and in some women this doesn’t happen.


You may have symptoms of thirst, wanting to pass urine often, or feeling tired, but generally speaking there aren’t any symptoms.


Gestational diabetes occurs in about one in twenty pregnant women.  The factors that increase the risk are being overweight, having a previous baby of weighing more than 4.5 kilos, which is about 10 pound, having a family history of diabetes, or if you’re black, Caribbean, from South Asia or the Middle Eastern.


Only women with risk factors are screened for gestational diabetes, and this is usually done around about 28 weeks.  If you’re diagnosed, don’t panic. Your midwife or your GP will help you to monitor it and manage it in the simple way using diet and exercise. They’ll teach you how to check your blood glucose levels at home, either using urine but usually it’s blood monitoring.


After you’ve had the baby gestational diabetes almost always goes away completely.  It is an indication that you are at risk of developing diabetes later on in life. There is a slightly increased risk of the baby developing obesity or diabetes if it isn’t correctly managed during the pregnancy.


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