Most women who have gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies, especially when they keep their blood glucose levels under control, eat a healthy diet and get regular, moderate physical exercise.
If gestational diabetes is not well looked after (i.e. blood glucose levels remain high), it may cause problems such as a large baby, which in turn can create the risk of injury at delivery, Caesarean delivery, forceps delivery and a need for the baby to be looked after in special care until the blood glucose level stabilises after delivery. Other complications may include pregnancy loss and premature delivery. If any problems occur, the hospital will know how to care for you and your baby.
Most women with gestational diabetes reach their due date and deliver their babies naturally. However, if the baby has a high birth weight, your doctor may advise a Caesarian section to reduce the risk or injury to you and the baby.
Once your baby is born, your insulin levels should return to normal. You will have a blood test usually about six weeks after delivery to check your blood glucose levels. The chance of developing type 2 diabetes is increased however. If you have a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight and regular physical exercise, you will help to reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Your doctor will probably recommend you have your blood glucose levels checked every 2-3 years.
Most women find that they can control their gestational diabetes through healthy eating and physical activity, however some women find that diet and exercise is not enough to get their blood glucose levels within the recommended range. If this happens to you, you will probably need to have insulin (diabetes tablets are not given for gestational diabetes).
Once you have had gestational diabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes in later pregnancies. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise before falling pregnant again will help to reduce the chances of this happening.
Where can I get more information on gestational diabetes?
The Diabetes Australia website provides more information on gestational diabetes.