I just found out I have gestational diabetes. How is it treated? Will I have to take insulin?
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GD or GDM) is a special type of diabetes that can develop as a complication during pregnancy. Doctors typically screen for it between the 24th and 28th week, which is when many hormones are being produced by the placenta (also known as the afterbirth) and cause blood sugar levels to rise. Pregnant women must produce extra insulin (which the pancreas produces) to keep blood sugar levels within a normal range.
Approximately 5 to 7 percent of pregnant women are unable to produce enough insulin to meet this extra demand. When the pancreas cannot make enough insulin, too much glucose stays in the bloodstream, and women are diagnosed with the pregnancy complication gestational diabetes. Because the placenta leaves your body when the baby is born, gestational diabetes is a complication that usually disappears following delivery.
Gestational diabetes puts you at risk for developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes are also at risk of having the complication in future pregnancies, and they have an increased risk of developing type two diabetes as they age. Diet and exercise—at least 30 minutes a day—are the recommended course of action and can help you to reach healthy blood glucose goals. However, it is true that some women will need insulin shots along with meal planning and physical activity to keep blood glucose levels on target.