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Guide to Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes - diabetes during pregnancy


Occasionally, diabetes is discovered for the first time during pregnancy. This is called Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. This type of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born. A specialist obstetrics including diabetes specialist midwives and diabetes team will help manage your care during your pregnancy.

What is Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)?

Gestational Diabetes usually occurs after the 24th week of pregnancy when your body makes large amounts of hormones to help your baby grow. These hormones prevent your insulin working the way it should. When this happens too much glucose stays in the bloodstream and you get high blood glucose levels (hyperglycaemia).

How will I know if I have gestational diabetes - How is it diagnosed?

Gestational diabetes is more common if you have:

  • A history of diabetes in your family
  • Had gestational diabetes before
  • high Body Mass Index (BMI)

If you are at risk you will be invited or an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) at the hospital.  See Diagnosing Diabetes for details about the test.


Download our Gestational Diabetes Care Booklet for details.



Blood Glucose Monitoring

You will be required to monitor your blood glucose levels by pricking your finger 3-4 times a day. You will be given all the equipment to perform the tests and a diary to record the results in. The safe range for blood glucose levels is less than 5.5 mmol/l before meals and less than 7.0 mmol/l two hours after meals.

Diet Control 

For anyone with diabetes, meal planning is important for you to control your

blood glucose. Different foods can increase your blood glucose levels more than others. See Dietary Advice during diabetes



Some women may be offered tablets to reduce their blood glucose levels, while some may need to give themselves additional insulin via injection to help lower their blood glucose levels. Your healthcare professional will advice you on the best treatment for you.

Post Delivery

Remember: Having Gestational Diabetes does not mean your baby will be born with Diabetes. Your Gestational Diabetes usually disappears after you have delivered your baby.

To ensure that the diabetes has gone it is very important to have a repeat Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) at your local GP. This is usually done after 6 weeks, then Yearly.


Gestational Diabetes Antenatal Care (PDF)

Leicestershire diabetes Information leaflet Download Document