Patient Information about Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes that develops for the first time during pregnancy. Diabetes in pregnancy can cause birth complications, such as large infant size, which can require a cesarean section, and breathing difficulties in the newborn. Gestational diabetes also increases a woman's risk for developing diabetes mellitus later in life.

It is important to diagnose and treat gestational diabetes as quickly as possible to reduce the risk for complications. In some cases, it is difficult to determine if a woman has gestational diabetes, or if she is experiencing the first symptoms of type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes resolves after the birth of the baby, but may return in future pregnancies.

Here are some questions to ask your doctor (e.g., obstetrician) about gestational diabetes. Print this page, check the questions you would like answered and bring it with you to your next appointment. Managing gestational diabetes can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy start in life for your baby.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Gestational Diabetes

  • Why do you suspect that I have gestational diabetes?
  • How will you confirm this diagnosis?
  • What causes diabetes during pregnancy?
  • How might gestational diabetes affect my pregnancy, my health, and the health of my unborn baby?
  • What risks and complications are associated with gestational diabetes?
  • How can I help reduce these risks?
  • How will my diabetes be monitored and managed?
  • What does gestational diabetes treatment involve?
  • What are the benefits, risks, and side effects of this treatment?
  • What kind(s) of medical specialist(s) will be involved in my diabetes care?
  • What types of lifestyle modifications do you recommend? What changes should I make to my diet?
  • What type of exercise program do you recommend? How much exercise should I get each day?
  • Do you recommend that I see a nutritionist or licensed dietician?

    Name of Nutritionist/Dietician: Telephone number to call:

  • What does blood sugar testing involve?
  • How often should I test my blood sugar levels?
  • What should these levels be?
  • What should I do if my blood glucose level is too high? Too low?
  • What special precautions should I take as a result of my having gestational diabetes?
  • Might medication(s) be necessary to treat my diabetes during pregnancy?
  • What are the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of these medications?
  • What should I do if I get sick or my diabetes symptoms worsen? Telephone number to call:
  • How might gestational diabetes affect my delivery?
  • What special precautions will be necessary to reduce the risk for birth complications?
  • Am I at increased risk for developing gestational diabetes during future pregnancies? If so, how can I reduce my risk?
  • Does diabetes during pregnancy increase my risk for developing type 2 diabetes?
  • Does the condition increase my child's risk for diabetes later in life?
  • Can you recommend a local support group for women with gestational diabetes?
  • Can you recommend additional sources for more information about diabetes during pregnancy?

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 20 Apr 2009

Last Modified: 11 Sep 2015