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Gestational Diabetes (GDM)

A type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy and usually disappears upon delivery, but increases the mother's risk of developing diabetes later in life. GDM is managed with meal planning, physical activity, and, in some cases, medication.

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(Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

About Gestational Diabetes

Gestational (jes-TAY-shun-ul) diabetes is a type of diabetes that can happen during pregnancy. It means you have never had diabetes before. Having gestational diabetes means you have a problem with high blood sugar while you are pregnant. The treatment is to control blood sugar. This can help prevent a difficult birth. It also helps keep your baby healthy.

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Read more about Gestational Diabetes

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Diabetes in Pregnancy: Management of Diabetes and Its Complications from Preconception to the Postnatal Period

Clinical guidelines have been defined as ‘systematically developed statements which assist clinicians and patients in making decisions about appropriate treatment for specific conditions’. This clinical guideline concerns the management of diabetes and its complications from preconception to the postnatal period. It has been developed with the aim of providing guidance on:

Treatments for gestational diabetes

The best way of identifying and treating women with abnormal blood glucose tests in pregnancy is not known. Raised blood glucose levels during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. This abnormality may be associated with bigger babies, more difficult births and could be associated with higher rates of operative delivery such as caesarean section. The review of eight studies (1418 women) suggests that offering specific treatment for gestational diabetes may be associated with better baby and mother outcomes, but has not found robust evidence on the best choice of treatment which provides the better outcomes for these women and their babies, even if identified correctly. More research is needed to assess long‐term mother and baby outcomes.

Oral anti‐diabetic agents for women with pre‐existing diabetes mellitus, impaired glucose tolerance or previous gestational diabetes mellitus

Pregnant women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk of adverse outcomes in pregnancy, such as miscarriage or large babies and preterm birth. Being pregnant can trigger diabetes in women with impaired glucose tolerance or can accelerate the development of diabetic complications in women who are already diabetic. Women who have gestational diabetes are at risk of developing diabetes later in life. This means that management is important for women with diabetes and also for women with impaired glucose tolerance or previously diagnosed gestational diabetes.

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Summaries for consumers

Treatments for gestational diabetes

The best way of identifying and treating women with abnormal blood glucose tests in pregnancy is not known. Raised blood glucose levels during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. This abnormality may be associated with bigger babies, more difficult births and could be associated with higher rates of operative delivery such as caesarean section. The review of eight studies (1418 women) suggests that offering specific treatment for gestational diabetes may be associated with better baby and mother outcomes, but has not found robust evidence on the best choice of treatment which provides the better outcomes for these women and their babies, even if identified correctly. More research is needed to assess long‐term mother and baby outcomes.

Oral anti‐diabetic agents for women with pre‐existing diabetes mellitus, impaired glucose tolerance or previous gestational diabetes mellitus

Pregnant women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk of adverse outcomes in pregnancy, such as miscarriage or large babies and preterm birth. Being pregnant can trigger diabetes in women with impaired glucose tolerance or can accelerate the development of diabetic complications in women who are already diabetic. Women who have gestational diabetes are at risk of developing diabetes later in life. This means that management is important for women with diabetes and also for women with impaired glucose tolerance or previously diagnosed gestational diabetes.

Reminder systems for women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus to increase uptake of testing for type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance

To assess the effects of reminder systems to increase uptake of testing for type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance in women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

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More about Gestational Diabetes

Photo of a pregnant woman

Also called: Gestational diabetes mellitus, Pregnancy-induced diabetes, Diabetes mellitus arising in pregnancy

See Also: Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

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Weight Gain in Pregnancy

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