Diabetes is the No. 6 leading causes of deaths in the United States, according to 2001 data from the United States National Center for Health Statistics.
Gestational Diabetes Treatment
Monitoring blood glucose levels. Take a home blood sugar test 1 hour after the first bite of each meal. Some experts recommend that women who take insulin should also test their blood sugar before meals. Keeping blood sugar levels within the acceptable range reduces the risk that the fetus will gain excessive weight, leading to possible complications.
Monitoring fetal growth and well-being. You may be asked to monitor fetal movements and report any significant decrease. Fetal ultrasound is used to evaluate fetal growth during pregnancy. If the fetus is growing larger than expected, you may need to take insulin injections. If you take insulin, a nonstress test may be done to evaluate the fetus's heart rate. A nonstress test may also be done near the expected delivery date for all women with gestational diabetes.
Having regular medical checkups. Women with gestational diabetes are twice as likely to develop high blood pressure as other pregnant women. Therefore, you need regular medical visits to monitor your blood pressure and to check your urine for protein. Your health professional may ask you to keep daily food records. They may be reviewed along with your weight to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition.
Taking insulin injections. If blood sugar levels are not remaining within an acceptable range after at least 2 weeks of eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, insulin injections will be needed. Insulin may be started after 1 week of diet and exercise if your blood sugar level is not within an acceptable range. Usually, when the baby is delivered, a woman's blood sugar level returns to normal and she no longer needs to take insulin.
Most obstetricians generally advise pregnant women not to diet, and a total
weight gain during pregnancy of about 25 lb (11.3 kg) to 35 lb (15.9 kg) is
expected. However, if you were very overweight before becoming pregnant, a
weight gain of less than 15 lb (6.8 kg) is acceptable. If you are obese, your
doctor will probably ask you to restrict your caloric intake, even during your
--The fetal heart rate, which provides an indication of how well the baby is tolerating the birth. Internal or external fetal heart monitoring may be used. If the baby is large or does not seem to be tolerating labor, surgery (cesarean section, or C-section) may be needed to deliver the baby. However, most women with gestational diabetes are able to deliver their babies naturally.
After delivery, you and the baby need to be monitored closely.
--The baby's blood glucose levels will be monitored. If your blood glucose levels were above the acceptable range during pregnancy, the baby's body will continue to produce extra insulin for several hours after birth. The extra insulin may cause the baby's blood glucose to drop too low (hypoglycemia). For babies who are able to take feedings by mouth, breast-feeding seems to help protect against low blood sugar.12 If the baby's blood glucose level drops below the acceptable range, he or she may need extra sugar, such as a sugar water drink or glucose given intravenously.
--The baby's blood may be checked for low calcium, high bilirubin, and extra red blood cells.
What to Think About
The blood glucose levels of most women with gestational diabetes return to
normal within a few hours after delivery. However, women who have had
gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy are at risk for developing type 2
diabetes later in life. In addition, between 30% and 69% of women who have
gestational diabetes develop the condition again in future pregnancies.