Pregnancy brings changes within the mother’s body to ensure the normal growth and development of the baby.
Gestational diabetes occurs when the mother’s body is unable to cope sufficiently with the increased level of hormones from the placenta. These hormones block the action of the mother's insulin. This is called insulin resistance.
During pregnancy a mother’s body needs two to three times more insulin than usual to keep blood glucose levels normal. When a woman develops gestational diabetes, her pancreas is unable to produce the extra insulin needed at this time.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs for the first time during pregnancy and goes away after a baby is born. In some women, the diabetes may not disappear after birth.
Management of gestational diabetes involves
- Eating a healthy balanced diet
- Physical activity
- Monitoring blood glucose levels
It is essential to see a dietitian who will make sure you are getting the proper nutrients for you and your baby, while helping you to make healthy food choices for the gestational diabetes.
- In Australia, three to eight per cent of pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes
- The most common time to develop this condition is between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy
- All women should be routinely tested for gestational diabetes around the 26th or 28th week of their pregnancy. Sometimes, especially if there is a previous history of gestational diabetes, the test may be done earlier.
The National Gestational Diabetes Website
The National Gestational Diabetes Website, developed by the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), supports women who have gestational diabetes. It also contains information for health professionals supporting women diagnonsed with geatational diabetes and information about the National Gestational Diabetes Register.
The National Gestational Diabetes Register was established within the NDSS to help women who have had gestational diabetes to manage their health into the future. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Translated Gestational Diabetes Booklets
The NDSS booklet for women with gestational diabetes, Caring for yourself and your baby, is available to download in five languages: Arabic, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Turkish and Vietnamese. These resources are only available online. Click here to access the resources.