Can gestational diabetes affect my baby?
If your gestational diabetes is not managed well and your blood sugar levels stay high, your baby may grow too large or be at an increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. A large baby increases the risk of injury during birth as well as caesarian delivery, forceps delivery and the risk that the baby may need special care following the birth. In the long-term, babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.
How will gestational diabetes affect me?
Having gestational diabetes may make your pregnancy a little more challenging. You will need to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly as well as eat well and be physically active. This might mean making small changes to the way you do things, such as grocery shopping, cooking or moving.
All this might make you feel anxious, and that’s normal and perfectly understandable. Pregnancy can be stressful enough without a diagnosis of gestational diabetes too. There are several health professionals who can help you, including your GP, specialist doctor, diabetes educator or dietitian. If you are feeling overwhelmed or feel you need help, talk to your GP to get the support you need.
The upside is, that eating well and being physically active during your pregnancy will help you and your baby to have a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy and birth. In many cases, women choose to continue the healthy lifestyle changes made after their pregnancy because they feel so much better for it.
In the longer-term, having gestational diabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, 50% of women who have had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10-20 years. However, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through healthy eating, regular physical activity and weight loss and living well during your pregnancy is the start of that. It is recommended that you see your doctor every 1-3 years to be tested for type 2 diabetes.
Will I have to inject myself with insulin to manage my gestational diabetes?
Most women with gestational diabetes can keep their blood glucose levels within the recommended range by monitoring their blood sugar levels, eating well and staying physically active. However, 10-20% of women need to take tablets (metformin) or inject insulin during their pregnancy as well. Your diabetes educator will show you how to inject correctly and safely and record your blood sugar levels.
Will insulin or metformin harm my baby?
No. Both metformin and insulin are safe for your baby.
Can I breastfeed if I have gestational diabetes?
Breastfeeding is recommended for all women, including women with gestational diabetes. Breastfeeding provides the best start for your baby and can help you to return to your pre-pregnancy weight.