Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a carbohydrate metabolic disorder that causes a pregnant woman to develop higher blood sugar levels.
The disease occurs only during pregnancy and recedes after delivery.
A pregnant woman may experience symptoms of gestational diabetes (dry mouth, thirst, increased frequency of urination, fatigue, weakness, blurred vision), but in most cases the pregnant woman feels good because moderately elevated blood sugars are not felt. The prevalence of GDM is 5% – 10%.
If you have had higher blood sugar levels and been referred to a glucose tolerance test (GTT), after diagnosing GDM, we recommend that you seek diabetes midwife counselling.
The midwife explains the nature of gestational diabetes and its impact on pregnancy, baby and woman’s future life. Provides instructions on a healthy diet, daily distribution of carbohydrates and the positive effect of physical activity. Gives recommendations on how to keep a nutrition diary, where you also indicate blood sugar values, teaches how to use a glucometer and understand obtained results.
For most women with gestational diabetes, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle are enough to normalize blood sugar levels. An integral part of treating diabetes in pregnancy is controlling blood sugar levels.
The chances of developing diabetes during pregnancy are higher in pregnant women at risk. Risk factors are:
- overweight (body mass index before pregnancy25-30 kg/m²)
- pregnant women with a history of gestational diabetes during previous pregnancy
- pregnant women whose first-degree relatives (mother, father, sister, brother) have diabetes
- pregnant women who have given birth to a large-weight (>4500g) newborn
- pregnant women with polycystic ovary syndrome
- glycosuria during this pregnancy
- polyhydramnion during this pregnancy
- large weight gain during pregnancy (more than 3 kg per month)
- age over 40
If you have had diabetes during pregnancy, you need to be monitored after giving birth as well. Although blood sugar usually normalises within 2-7 days after giving birth, about 40% of women with gestational diabetes develop insulin-independent diabetes, or type 2 diabetes (the incidence rises to 50% in women with an increased BMI) within 10 years. Therefore, six months after giving birth, you should check your blood sugar with your GP, and later your blood sugar should be checked once a year.
To book a diabetes midwife counselling please send us an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.