Dr Glenda McLaren
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Gestational Diabetes

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Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (or GDM) is a form of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. This is when the levels of glucose in the blood are higher than they should be during pregnancy. It is diagnosed through a Glucose Tolerance Test, usually performed at around 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.

According to Diabetes Australia, Gestational diabetes is the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia, affecting thousands of pregnant women. Between five and 10 per cent of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes.

GDM often resolves after pregnancy, and it will not lead to your baby being born with diabetes, however, it can increase the risk of your baby developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

How is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed?​

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed using an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) which at Bloom Women’s Health is typically done between 26 and 28 weeks into your pregnancy. The test is done at a pathology lab typically recommended in the morning, as you have to fast overnight.

Firstly, blood will be taken to check your fasting blood glucose level, then you will be given a very sugary drink to take, and have your blood tested again one and two hours later. You will be asked to sit and wait between tests (you may wish to bring a book).

If your results show that your blood glucose level is above the normal range at your fasting, one- or two-hour test, then you likely have gestational diabetes and your Bloom OB will discuss a management plan with you at your next appointment.

Risk Factors of Gestational Diabetes

Women who have risk factors for gestational diabetes should be tested earlier in their pregnancy. Women at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes include those who:

Gestational diabetes may also occur in women with no known risk factors.

How is Gestational Diabetes Managed During Pregnancy?

If you have Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, then it is very important to monitor and maintain your blood sugars in the normal range during your pregnancy. Key to this is a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity – the Bloom Women’s Health team can assist you with this – and you may also be given a blood glucose meter.

Read more about Gestational Diabetes on the Diabetes Australia website.

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