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Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes symptoms, Gestational Diabetes treatment, Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes diagnosis


Diabetes is a condition where glucose is processed differently in the body. When this condition develops and is diagnosed during pregnancy (gestation), it is classified as gestational diabetes. It results in abnormal blood glucose levels in expectant mothers and can result in complications during pregnancy and delivery.

About The Condition

The occurrence of Gestational Diabetes varies in the range of 2-14% globally. It is estimated that at any given point approximately 4 million expectant mothers develop this condition. 

In this particular form of diabetes, there is an increase in insulin resistance during pregnancy which in turn results in higher than normal blood glucose levels. It usually manifests in the late second or third trimester and can be easily brought under control if detected early and treated on time.

Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes

Views are divided when it comes to pinpointing the exact cause of Gestational Diabetes. A few risk factors have been identified to explain why some women show a higher propensity to develop this condition as compared to others, they are:

  1. Obesity or excess weight 
  2. Late pregnancy (over the age of 25)
  3. High blood pressure
  4. Rapid weight gain during pregnancy
  5. Sedentary lifestyle
  6. History of diabetes or gestational diabetes
  7. PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
  8. Family history of diabetes
  9. Previous birth of baby weighing over 4 kgs
  10. History of miscarriages 
  11. Expecting multiple births
  12. Ethnicity


Experiencing severe symptoms for gestational diabetes is quite rare. A few mild symptoms may include:

Gestational Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes symptoms, Gestational Diabetes treatment, Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes diagnosis
  1. Excess fatigue
  2. Excess thirst
  3. Frequent urination
  4. Blurry vision 

Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes

In case you exhibit any of the aforementioned risk factors, then screening is done either early on or during the 2/3  trimester. The testing is done using a plasma calibrated glucometer for immediate results. 

Treatment of Gestational Diabetes

Treatment of Gestational diabetes can vary based on the severity of the condition. NHM (National Health Mission) however, has laid out broad guidelines to effectively manage this condition: 

  • After the initial diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes, one has to undergo mandatory Medical Nutritional Therapy as well as some form of physical activity for 30 minutes daily. 
  • After completion of the 2 week course of MNT and physical exercise, PPBS (Post prandial Blood Sugar) test is performed post meal.
  • In case the test result is <120 mg/dL then the test has to be repeated as per high risk pregnancy protocol. This protocol mandates 8 tests of which 4 are additional to be carried out during the course of pregnancy. Preferably one every month. 
  • In case the PPBS results after the initial 2 week MNT and physical activity is > 120 mg/dL, insulin therapy or metformin has to be started as  required. 
Gestational Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes symptoms, Gestational Diabetes treatment, Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes diagnosis


The following lifestyle changes can not only reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes but also the risk of developing type II diabetes as a result of gestational diabetes. 

  • Eat healthy – include food high in fibre and low in fat/calories in the daily diet. Fruits, greens and grains are a must. Portion sizes should also be controlled. 
  • Exercise – Regular exercise both before and during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes. A minimum of 30 minutes daily should be allocated to any form of physical activity (walking, running, cycling, etc). It is also imperative that you seek medical advice to decide what intensity of exercise would be safe for you and your baby. 
  • Start your pregnancy at a healthy weight – If the pregnancy is planned, it is recommended that you start at a healthy weight. Focus on your diet and exercise to ensure a smoother pregnancy
  • Be careful of gaining excess weight – While gaining weight during pregnancy is completely normal and healthy, care should be taken that the weight gain remains gradual rather than sudden. With your doctor map out what would be the ideal pregnancy weight for you. 


1. What causes gestational diabetes?

Increasing levels of pregnancy hormones during pregnancy can interfere with insulin functioning. Eventually resulting in elevated blood sugar levels (gestational diabetes)

2. When does one develop gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes usually manifests in the 2nd to 3rd trimester when there is an increase in the production of pregnancy hormones. Early screening is done for patients exhibiting high risk factors.

3. How does gestational pregnancy affect my baby?

Most women who undergo treatment for gestational development have healthy pregnancies and babies. If untreated however, it can result in,

  • injuries to the baby during delivery (due to their size)
  • Low blood sugar when they are born 
  • Premature birth 
  • Miscarriage 
  • Increased risk of developing type II diabetes and obesity later in life (for the child) 

4. How will gestational diabetes affect me?

Developing gestational diabetes and leaving it untreated can result in 

  • Difficult delivery (might even need C-section)
  • Increased risk of miscarraige 
  • Preeclampsia 
  • Premature Birth