How Serious Is Gestational Diabetes?

How Serious Is Gestational Diabetes
Complications that may affect you – Gestational diabetes may also increase your risk of:

High blood pressure and preeclampsia. Gestational diabetes raises your risk of high blood pressure, as well as preeclampsia — a serious complication of pregnancy that causes high blood pressure and other symptoms that can threaten both your life and your baby’s life. Having a surgical delivery (C-section). You’re more likely to have a C-section if you have gestational diabetes. Future diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, you’re more likely to get it again during a future pregnancy. You also have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes as you get older.

Should I be worried about gestational diabetes?

Related Health Problems – Having gestational diabetes can increase your risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy, It can also increase your risk of having a large baby that needs to be delivered by cesarean section (C-section). If you have gestational diabetes, your baby is at higher risk of:

Being very large (9 pounds or more), which can make delivery more difficult Being born early, which can cause breathing and other problems Having low blood sugar Developing type 2 diabetes later in life

Your blood sugar levels will usually return to normal after your baby is born. However, about 50% of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes. You can lower your risk by reaching a healthy body weight after delivery. Visit your doctor to have your blood sugar tested 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born and then every 1 to 3 years to make sure your levels are on target.

Is gestational diabetes a big deal?

What is gestational diabetes? Gestational diabetes is a condition in which there’s too much sugar in the blood. When you eat, your body breaks down sugar and starches from food into glucose to use for energy. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that helps your body keep the right amount of glucose in your blood.

  • When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or it can’t use insulin properly, so you end up with too much sugar in your blood.
  • This can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, kidney failure and blindness.
  • Pregnant people are usually tested for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Most of the time it can be controlled and treated during pregnancy. If it’s not treated, gestational diabetes can cause problems for you and your baby. It usually goes away after your baby’s born. Once you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes later in life.

  • Are older than 25.
  • Are overweight or obese and not physically active,
  • Have had gestational diabetes or a baby with macrosomia in a past pregnancy.
  • Have high blood pressure or you’ve had heart disease.
  • Have polycystic ovarian syndrome (also called polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS). This is a hormone problem that can affect reproductive and overall health.
  • Have prediabetes. This means your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Have a parent, brother or sister who has diabetes.
  • Are a member of a racial or ethnic group that has a higher prevalence of diabetes that isn’t entirely explained by race or ethnicity, such as Black, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic/Latino or Pacific Islander

Racism and risk of gestational diabetes Being a person of color is not a cause for having gestational diabetes. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why people in these groups are more likely to have gestational diabetes, but they have noticed some patterns in studies about gestational diabetes.

For example, many people of color experience chronic stress and lack access to fresh and healthy food. These factors are known as social determinants of health. They are the conditions in which you are born, grow, work, and live. In many cases, the social determinants of health are related to racism. Racism and unequal living conditions affect health and well-being and increases the risk of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes.

Racism refers to the false belief that certain groups of people are born with qualities that make them better than other groups of people. Racism isn’t limited to personal attacks such as ethnic slurs, bullying, or physical assault. In a racist culture, one group of people has more power than other groups.

  • Have better education and job opportunities
  • Live in safer environmental conditions
  • Be shown in a positive light by media, such as television shows, movies, and news programs.
  • Be treated with respect by law enforcement
  • Have better access to health care

In contrast, people from racial or ethnic minority groups who live in a racist culture are more likely to:

  • Experience chronic stress
  • Live in an unsafe neighborhood
  • Live in areas that have higher amounts of environmental toxins, such as air, water, and soil pollution
  • Go to a low-performing school
  • Have limited access to healthy foods
  • Have little or no access to health insurance and quality medical care
  • Have less access to well-paying jobs

March of Dimes recognizes that racism and its effects are factors in the health disparities in pregnancy outcomes and babies’ health. We must work together to bring fair, just and full access to health care for all moms and babies. Can gestational diabetes increase your risk for problems during pregnancy? Yes.

  • Macrosomia, This means your baby weighs more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces (4,000 grams) at birth. Babies who weigh this much are more likely to be hurt during labor and birth, and can cause damage to his or her mother during delivery.
  • Shoulder dystocia or other birth injuries (also called birth trauma). Complications for birthing parents caused by shoulder dystocia include postpartum hemorrhage (heavy bleeding). For babies, the most common injuries are fractures to the collarbone and arm and damage to the brachial plexus nerves. These nerves go from the spinal cord in the neck down the arm. They provide feeling and movement in the shoulder, arm and hand.
  • High blood pressure and preeclampsia, High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is when the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels is too high. It can stress your heart and cause problems during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is when a pregnant person has high blood pressure and signs that some of their organs, such as the kidneys and liver, may not be working properly.
  • Perinatal depression, This is depression that happens during pregnancy or in the first year after having a baby (also called postpartum depression ). Depression is a medical condition that causes feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in things you like to do. It can affect how you think, feel, and act and can interfere with your daily life.
  • Preterm birth, This is birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Most women who have gestational diabetes have a full-term pregnancy that lasts between 39 and 40 weeks. However, if there are complications, your health care provider may need to induce labor before your due date. This means your provider will give you medicine or break your water (amniotic sac) to make your labor begin.
  • Stillbirth, This is the death of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Cesarean birth (also called c-section). This is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and uterus. You may need to have a c-section if you have complications during pregnancy, or if your baby is very large (also known as macrosomia). Most people who have gestational diabetes can have a vaginal birth. But they’re more likely to have a c-section than people who don’t have gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes also can cause health complications for your baby after birth, including:

  • Breathing problems, including respiratory distress syndrome. This can happen when babies don’t have enough surfactant in their lungs. Surfactant is a protein that keeps the small air sacs in the lungs from collapsing.
  • Jaundice. This is a medical condition in which the baby’s liver isn’t fully developed or isn’t working well. A jaundiced baby’s eyes and skin look yellow.
  • Low blood sugar (also called hypoglycemia)
  • Obesity later in life
  • Diabetes later in life
See also:  Which Diabetes Is Worse?

How do you know if you have gestational diabetes? Your health care provider tests you for gestational diabetes with a prenatal test called a glucose tolerance test. If your provider thinks you’re at risk, you may get the test earlier. If the glucose screening test comes back positive, you’ll have another test called a glucose tolerance test.

After this test, your doctor will be able to tell whether you have gestational diabetes. How is gestational diabetes treated? If you have gestational diabetes, your prenatal care provider will want to see you more often at prenatal care checkups so they can monitor you and your baby closely to help prevent problems.

You’ll probably have tests to make sure you and your baby are doing well. These include a nonstress test and a biophysical profile. The nonstress test checks your baby’s heart rate. The biophysical profile is a nonstress test with an ultrasound, Your provider also may ask you to do kick counts (also called fetal movement counts).

  1. Every day, time how long it takes for your baby to move 10 times. If it takes longer than 2 hours, tell your provider.
  2. See how many movements you feel in 1 hour. Do this 3 times each week. If the number changes, tell your provider.

If you have gestational diabetes, your provider tells you how often to check your blood sugar, what your levels should be and how to manage them during pregnancy. Blood sugar is affected by pregnancy, what you eat and drink, and how much physical activity you get.

You may need to eat differently and be more active. You also may need to take insulin shots or other medicines. Treatment for gestational diabetes can help reduce your risk for pregnancy complications. Your provider begins treatment with monitoring your blood sugar levels, healthy eating, and physical activity.

If this doesn’t do enough to control your blood sugar, you may need medicine. Insulin is the most common medicine for gestational diabetes. It’s safe to take during pregnancy. Here’s what you can do to help manage gestational diabetes:

  • Go to all your prenatal care checkups, even if you’re feeling fine.
  • Follow your provider’s directions about how often to check your blood sugar. Your provider shows you how to check your blood sugar on your own. They tell you how often to check it and what to do if it’s too high. Keep a log that includes your blood sugar level every time you check it. Share it with your provider at each checkup. Most parents can check their blood sugar four times each day: once after fasting (first thing in the morning before you’ve eaten) and again after each meal.
  • Eat healthy foods. Talk to your provider about the right kinds of foods to eat to help control your blood sugar.
  • Do something active every day. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least 5 days each week. Talk to your provider about activities that are safe during pregnancy, like walking.
  • If you take medicine for diabetes, take it exactly as your provider tells you to. If you take insulin, your provider teaches you how to give yourself insulin shots. Tell your provider about any medicine you take, even if it’s medicine for other health conditions. Some medicines can be harmful during pregnancy, so your provider may need to change them to ones that are safer for you and your baby. Don’t start or stop taking any medicine during pregnancy without talking to your provider first.
  • Check your weight gain during pregnancy. Gaining too much weight or gaining weight too fast can make it harder to manage your blood sugar. Talk to your provider about the right amount of weight to gain during pregnancy,

If you have gestational diabetes, how can you help prevent getting diabetes later in life? For most people, gestational diabetes goes away after giving birth. But having it makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Type 2 diabetes is the most common kind of diabetes. Here’s what you can do to help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy:

  • Get tested for diabetes 4 to 12 weeks after your baby is born. If the test is normal, get tested again every 1 to 3 years.
  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Talk to your provider about medicine that may help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Last reviewed: March 2022

How early do you deliver with gestational diabetes?

Giving birth – The ideal time to give birth if you have gestational diabetes is usually around weeks 38 to 40. If your blood sugar is within normal levels and there are no concerns about your or your baby’s health, you may be able to wait for labour to start naturally.

However, you’ll usually be offered induction of labour or a caesarean section if you have not given birth by 40 weeks and 6 days. Earlier delivery may be recommended if there are concerns about your or your baby’s health, or if your blood sugar levels have not been well controlled. You should give birth at a hospital where specially trained health care professionals are available to provide appropriate care for your baby.

When you go into hospital to give birth, take your blood sugar testing kit with you, plus any medicines you’re taking. Usually you should keep testing your blood sugar and taking your medicines until you’re in established labour or you’re told to stop eating before a caesarean section.

How likely is it to have a stillbirth from gestational diabetes?

Authors list – Dr Jenny Myers, Dr Susan Greenwood, Professor John Aplin, Giovanna Bernativičius, Matina Hakim

Diabetes affects 1-2% of pregnancies and is a major risk factor for many pregnancy complications. Women with diabetes are around five times more likely to have stillbirths, and three times more likely to have babies that don’t survive beyond their first few months.

  • Diabetes can also stop babies from growing normally – they are born either too small (fetal growth restriction (FGR)) or too large (macrosomia), both of which dramatically increase the risk of stillbirths.
  • Babies who do not grow properly in the womb – whether too large or too small – are also at risk of serious health conditions later in life, such as obesity or diabetes.

High blood glucose levels are associated with abnormalities in fetal growth, but the relationship between blood glucose levels at different stages of pregnancy and how this relates to the development and function of the placenta is poorly understood.

Can I have a healthy baby with gestational diabetes?

How Will It Affect Me? – You might have:

A higher chance of needing a C-sectionMiscarriageHigh blood pressure or preeclampsia Pre-term birth

Your blood sugar will probably return to normal after you give birth, But you’ll have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later or gestational diabetes again with another pregnancy. A healthy lifestyle can lower the odds of that happening. Just as you can help your child, you can lower your own chances of obesity and diabetes.

Does my baby need to be delivered by C-section?How accurate are birth-weight estimates? Could my baby be smaller than you think?What are the risks to my baby and I if I don’t have a C-section?What are the risks to us if I do?

Can you be healthy with gestational diabetes?

Diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes, Gestational diabetes occurs in about 7 percent of all pregnancies. It usually arises in the second half of pregnancy and goes away as soon as the baby is born. However, if gestational diabetes is not treated, you may experience complications.

The first step in treating gestational diabetes is to modify your diet to help keep your blood sugar level in the normal range, while still eating a healthy diet. Most women with well-controlled blood sugar deliver healthy babies without any complications. One way of keeping your blood sugar levels in normal range is by monitoring the amount of carbohydrates in your diet.

Carbohydrate foods digest and turn into blood glucose (a type of sugar). Glucose in the blood is necessary because it is the fuel for your body and nourishment your baby receives from you. However, it’s important that glucose levels stay within target.

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How long can you go with gestational diabetes?

5 Tips for Women with Gestational Diabetes –

Eat Healthy Foods Eat healthy foods from a meal plan made for a person with diabetes. A dietitian can help you create a healthy meal plan. Learn more about diabetes meal planning, A dietitian can also help you learn how to control your blood sugar while you are pregnant. To find a registered dietician near you, please visit The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website,

Exercise Regularly Exercise is another way to keep blood sugar under control. It helps to balance food intake. After checking with your doctor, you can exercise regularly during and after pregnancy. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week. This could be brisk walking, swimming, or actively playing with children. Learn more about physical activity during pregnancy » Monitor Blood Sugar Often Because pregnancy causes the body’s need for energy to change, blood sugar levels can change very quickly. Check your blood sugar often, as directed by your doctor. Take Insulin, If Needed Sometimes a woman with gestational diabetes must take insulin. If insulin is ordered by your doctor, take it as directed in order to help keep blood sugar under control. Get Tested for Diabetes after Pregnancy Get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born, and then every 1 to 3 years.For most women with gestational diabetes, the diabetes goes away soon after delivery. When it does not go away, the diabetes is called type 2 diabetes. Even if the diabetes does go away after the baby is born, half of all women who had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later. It’s important for a woman who has had gestational diabetes to continue to exercise and eat a healthy diet after pregnancy to prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes. She should also remind her doctor to check her blood sugar every 1 to 3 years.

Women who had gestational diabetes or who develop prediabetes can also learn more about the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs. To find a CDC-recognized lifestyle change class near you, or join one of the online programs,

How big is the average baby with gestational diabetes?

Results – Researchers analyzed the ultrasound scans and glucose and gestational diabetes test results of more than 2,400 women participating in a study of fetal growth. Of the study participants, 107 (4.4%) had gestational diabetes, and 118 (4.8%) had impaired glucose tolerance—glucose levels above normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

  • Another 2,020 women had normal glucose tolerance.
  • Compared to the women with normal glucose, fetuses of women with gestational diabetes had a greater estimated fetal weight beginning at 20 weeks of pregnancy, which was statistically significant at 28 weeks through 40 weeks of pregnancy.
  • By week 37, the average estimated weight for fetuses in the gestational diabetes group was about 6.7 pounds, compared to about 6.5 pounds in the normal glucose group.

The researchers also compared the early-pregnancy glucose levels of 101 women who were later diagnosed with gestational diabetes to the glucose levels of 203 women with normal glucose tolerance. In these groups, higher glucose levels at weeks 10 to 14 were associated with larger fetal size at week 20, which reached statistical significance at week 27.

What number is too high for gestational diabetes?

Most doctors and nurses consider your blood sugar level in the screening test to be high if it is above 130 to 140 mg/dL (7.2 to 7.7 mmol/L). If your blood sugar level is very high ( ≥200 mg/dL ), there is a very strong chance that you have gestational diabetes.

What happens if I ignore my gestational diabetes?

Q. Will my baby be affected? – A. Gestational diabetes in a mother should not cause birth defects in her unborn child. However, if gestational diabetes goes undiagnosed and is not treated, there is a higher risk of certain problems in the baby, including the following.

High birth weight. This can make vaginal delivery difficult, and can result in having an assisted delivery or a Caesarean section. Sometimes the baby may be injured during vaginal birth. Breathing difficulties after birth. Jaundice. Low blood glucose levels (hypoglycaemia) after birth. Babies born to mothers with diabetes will have their blood glucose levels tested regularly for the first few days after birth.

What causes fetal death in gestational diabetes?

Lethal malformations, placental abnormalities and IUGR were the leading causes of stillbirth related to diabetes. Pre-conception counselling and planning to achieve better glycaemic control in pregnancy needs to be improved.

Does gestational diabetes affect the child later in life?

Growing baby, growing impact – Gestational diabetes affects the mother in late pregnancy, after the baby’s body has been formed, but while the baby is busy growing. Because of this, gestational diabetes does not cause the kinds of birth defects sometimes seen in babies whose mothers had diabetes before pregnancy.

  • However, untreated or poorly controlled gestational diabetes can hurt your baby.
  • When you have gestational diabetes, your pancreas works overtime to produce insulin, but the insulin does not lower your blood glucose levels.
  • Although insulin does not cross the placenta, glucose and other nutrients do.
  • So extra blood glucose goes through the placenta, giving the baby high blood glucose levels.

This causes the baby’s pancreas to make extra insulin to get rid of the blood glucose. Since the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat. This can lead to macrosomia, or a “fat” baby. Babies with macrosomia face health problems of their own, including damage to their shoulders during birth.

What should I avoid with gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar (glucose) that starts during pregnancy. Eating a balanced, healthy diet can help you manage gestational diabetes. The diet recommendations that follow are for women with gestational diabetes who do NOT take insulin.

Plenty of whole fruits and vegetablesModerate amounts of lean proteins and healthy fatsModerate amounts of whole grains, such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice, plus starchy vegetables, such as corn and peasFewer foods that have a lot of sugar, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and pastries

You should eat three small- to moderate-sized meals and one or more snacks each day. Do not skip meals and snacks. Keep the amount and types of food (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) about the same from day to day. This can help you keep your blood sugar stable. CARBOHYDRATES

Less than half the calories you eat should come from carbohydrates.Most carbohydrates are found in starchy or sugary foods. They include bread, rice, pasta, cereal, potatoes, peas, corn, fruit, fruit juice, milk, yogurt, cookies, candy, soda, and other sweets.High-fiber, whole-grain carbohydrates are healthy choices. These types of carbohydrates are called complex carbohydrates.Try to avoid eating simple carbohydrates, such as potatoes, french-fries, white rice, candy, soda, and other sweets. This is because they cause your blood sugar to rise quickly after you eat such foods.Vegetables are good for your health and your blood sugar. Enjoy lots of them.Carbohydrates in food are measured in grams. You can learn to count the amount of carbohydrates in the foods that you eat.

GRAINS, BEANS, AND STARCHY VEGETABLES Eat 6 or more servings a day. One serving equals:

1 slice bread1 ounce (28 grams) ready-to-eat cereal1/2 cup (105 grams) cooked rice or pasta1 English muffin

Choose foods loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy carbohydrates. They include:

Whole-grain breads and crackersWhole grain cerealsWhole grains, such as barley or oatsBeansBrown or wild riceWhole-wheat pastaStarchy vegetables, such as corn and peas

Use whole-wheat or other whole-grain flours in cooking and baking. Eat more low-fat breads, such as tortillas, English muffins, and pita bread. VEGETABLES Eat 3 to 5 servings a day. One serving equals:

1 cup (340 grams) leafy, green vegetables1 cup (340 grams) cooked or chopped raw leafy vegetables3/4 cup (255 grams) vegetable juice1/2 cup (170 grams) of chopped vegetables, cooked or raw

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Healthy vegetable choices include:

Fresh or frozen vegetables without added sauces, fats, or saltDark green and deep yellow vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, carrots, and peppers

FRUITS Eat 2 to 4 servings a day. One serving equals:

1 medium whole fruit (such as a banana, apple, or orange)1/2 cup (170 grams) chopped, frozen, cooked, or canned fruit3/4 cup (180 milliliters) fruit juice

Healthy fruit choices include:

Whole fruits rather than juices. They have more fiber.Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines.Fruit juices without added sugar.Fresh fruits and juices. They are more nutritious than frozen or canned varieties.

MILK AND DAIRY Eat 4 servings of low-fat or nonfat dairy products a day. One serving equals:

1 cup (240 milliliters) milk or yogurt1 1/2 oz (42 grams) natural cheese2 oz (56 grams) processed cheese

Healthy dairy choices include:

Low-fat or nonfat milk or yogurt. Avoid yogurt with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.Dairy products are a great source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

PROTEIN (MEAT, FISH, DRY BEANS, EGGS, AND NUTS) Eat 2 to 3 servings a day. One serving equals:

2 to 3 oz (55 to 84 grams) cooked meat, poultry, or fish1/2 cup (170 grams) cooked beans1 egg2 tablespoons (30 grams) peanut butter

Healthy protein choices include:

Fish and poultry. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.Lean cuts of beef, veal, pork, or wild game.Trim all visible fat from meat. Bake, roast, broil, grill, or boil instead of frying. Foods from this group are excellent sources of B vitamins, protein, iron, and zinc.


Sweets are high in fat and sugar, so limit how often you eat them. Keep portion sizes small.Even sugar-free sweets may not be the best choice. This is because they may not be free of carbohydrates or calories.Ask for extra spoons or forks and split your dessert with others.

FATS In general, you should limit your intake of fatty foods.

Go easy on butter, margarine, salad dressing, cooking oil, and desserts.Avoid fats high in saturated fat such as hamburger, cheese, bacon, and butter.Don’t cut fats and oils from your diet entirely. They provide energy for growth and are essential for baby’s brain development.Choose healthy oils, such as canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, and safflower oil. Include nuts, avocados, and olives.

OTHER LIFESTYLE CHANGES Your provider may also suggest a safe exercise plan. Walking is usually the easiest type of exercise, but swimming or other low-impact exercises can work just as well. Exercise can help you keep your blood sugar in control. YOUR HEALTH CARE TEAM IS THERE TO HELP YOU In the beginning, meal planning may be overwhelming.

  1. But it will get easier as you gain more knowledge about foods and their effects on your blood sugar.
  2. If you’re having problems with meal planning, talk with your health care team.
  3. They are there to help you.
  4. Gestational diabetes diet ACOG Practice Bulletin No.190: Gestational diabetes mellitus.
  5. Obstet Gynecol,2018;131(2):e49-e64.

PMID: 29370047, American Diabetes Association.14. Management of diabetes in pregnancy: standards of medical care in diabetes – 2021. Diabetes Care,2021;44(Suppl1):S200-S210. PMID: 33298425,

Blickstein I, Perlman S, Hazan Y, Shinwell ES. Pregnancy complicated by diabetes mellitus. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin’s Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine,11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 18. Landon MB, Catalano PM, Gabbe SG. Diabetes mellitus complicating pregnancy.

In: Landon MB, Galan HL, Jauniaux ERM, et al, eds. Gabbe’s Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies,8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 45. Updated by: John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA.

Do you gain a lot of weight with gestational diabetes?

Published by: – Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures. ADD TOPIC TO EMAIL ALERTS Receive an email when new articles are posted on Please provide your email address to receive an email when new articles are posted on, We were unable to process your request.

Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact [email protected], Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is not associated with an increased risk for developing gestational diabetes, according to findings published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation, “The amount of gestational weight gain in the first trimester and before gestational diabetes screening did not change the risk of developing gestational diabetes,” Tai-Ho Hung, MD, PhD, director of maternal fetal medicine in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Taipei Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, and colleagues wrote.

“Interestingly, women with gestational diabetes had significantly less gestational weight gain in the second trimester, after gestational diabetes screening and throughout gestation than women without gestational diabetes.” Source: Adobe Stock Researchers conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study of women who underwent gestational diabetes screening and delivered after 28 weeks of gestation at Taipei Chang Gung Memorial Hospital from 2012 to 2016. Pregnant women were screened for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation with a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test with the exception of high-risk women, who underwent screening at the first prenatal visit.

  1. Gestational diabetes was diagnosed if plasma glucose exceeded 92 mg/dL at fasting, 180 mg/dL after 1 hour and 153 mg/dL after 2 hours.
  2. Prepregnancy height and weight were used to calculate pregestational BMI.
  3. First trimester gestational weight gain was the difference between weight before pregnancy to 12 to 14 weeks of gestation.

Second trimester weight gain was the difference in weight from 12 to 14 weeks and 26 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Gestational weight gain before diabetes screening was calculated as the difference between prepregnancy weight and weight at screening. Weight gain after screening was defined as the difference between weight at delivery and the weight at gestational diabetes screening.

Excessive gestational weight gain was defined as weight gain above the 90th percentile of women in the same BMI category before pregnancy and during gestation, or based on gestational weight gain guidelines by the Institute of Medicine in 2009. Of 8,352 women included in the analysis, 1,129 developed gestational diabetes.

Women with gestational diabetes had a lower mean weight gain during the second trimester, after diabetes screening and during the entire pregnancy compared with women without gestational diabetes. There were no differences in weight gain during the first trimester and before gestational diabetes screening.

  • Women with a high prepregnancy BMI and gestational diabetes had a lower rate of excessive weight gain in the second trimester compared with women without gestational diabetes, with no difference in the other time points.
  • No association was found between excessive gestational weight gain and the development of gestational diabetes in all trimesters.

There were still no associations observed when models were restricted only to women with excessive or adequate gestational weight gain. There was also no association found between increasing gestational weight gain and the development of gestational diabetes in trend analysis, regardless of prepregnancy BMI.

The researchers wrote that possible explanations for the findings are women who were at high risk for developing gestational diabetes were more likely to be educated about appropriate weight gain during pregnancy, and possible changes in the components of gestational weight gain such as the development of the fetus and placenta, expansion of maternal blood volume and extracellular fluid, enlargement of the gravid uterus and mammary glands, and increased maternal adipose tissue.

“Although women with excessive gestational weight gain are more susceptible to pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia, our results indicate that excessive gestational weight gain is not a significant risk factor for gestational diabetes,” the researchers wrote.

Further prospectively designed studies, particularly on Asian populations, and the use of International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups criteria for gestational diabetes are needed to confirm our findings.” ADD TOPIC TO EMAIL ALERTS Receive an email when new articles are posted on Please provide your email address to receive an email when new articles are posted on,

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact [email protected],