Gestational Diabetes

Diabetes During Pregnancy

A temporary form of diabetes can occur when a woman is pregnant. This form is called gestational diabetes and often has no symptoms. Most women are tested for their ability to process glucose at some point in their pregnancy. If the test shows that a woman has a blood sugar problem, she will have to follow a special diet for the rest of the pregnancy. In some cases, she may also need to take insulin.

Approximately 3 to 5 percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes occurs more often in African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, in people with a family history of diabetes and in those who are overweight. These populations are also the risk groups for type 2 diabetes, in general. Although this form of diabetes usually disappears after the baby is born, more than half of the women who have gestational diabetes eventually develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

If a woman has diabetes prior to the pregnancy, it is very important to get her diabetes under excellent control before becoming pregnant to reduce the risk for birth defects. A woman with diabetes who is planning a pregnancy should notify her physician.*

*Courtesy of The Hormone Foundation

Click here to download a daily food pyramid for Gestational Diabetes.

Click here for the same document in Spanish.

More Links

Mayo Clinic/Gestation Diabetes
American Diabetes Association/Gestational Diabetes
California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program/Special Topics