Gestational Diabetes

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes (GDM), or diabetes during pregnancy, is when women have diabetes during pregnancy. They've never had diabetes before, and it goes away after pregnancy. But, unfortunately, that's not the end of the story.

Once you've had GDM your chances are 2 in 3 that it will return in future pregnancies. And women who have had GDM are more than 7 times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as women who didn't have diabetes in pregnancy.

There are many other health conditions that raise your risk, including:

How Can You Lower Your Risk?

Lose weight. Are you more than 20% over your ideal body weight? Losing even a few pounds can help you prevent type 2 diabetes.

Make healthy food choices. Follow simple daily guidelines, like eating enough fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole grains. Limit fat to 30% or less of your daily calories, and watch your portion sizes. Healthy eating habits can go a long way in preventing diabetes and other health problems.

  • Stay active. Regular exercise can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Plus it can help you lose weight, manage stress, and feel better. Learn more about physical activity
  • Breastfeed.If you can, breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding can provide both short- and long-term benefits to both your baby and to you.
  • Talk to your doctor. Be sure to tell your health care providers that you've had GDM.
  • Get tested. If you had GDM, you should be tested for diabetes 6–12 weeks after you give birth and at least every 3 years after that.

Learn more about gestational diabetes and how it affects you and your baby.


Learn more about your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

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  • Last Reviewed: October 8, 2009
  • Last Edited: April 18, 2014

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast