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Gestational diabetes and gestational diabetes diet

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women who have never had diabetes before. There is no known specific cause, but it's believed that the hormones produced during pregnancy reduce a woman's receptivity to insulin resulting in high blood sugar. In this sense it is similar to type-2 diabetes. For this reason a gestational diabetes diet is one that reduces high blood sugar to relieve the burden on the pancreas.


Gestational diabetes is tested for in a similar way to type-2 diabetes. A health care team will check the affected woman's blood glucose level. Depending on the mother's risk and her test results, she may have one or more of the following tests:

  • Fasting blood glucose or random blood glucose test
  • Screening glucose challenge test
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)

Consequences of gestational diabetes

Poorly controlled gestational diabetes can lead to the growth of a large baby. This in turn increases the need for instrumental deliveries (forceps, vacuum and caesarean section).

Babies born to mothers with any form of diabetes are also more likely to have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and other chemical imbalances that need to be monitored and possibly corrected after birth. These babies often need specialized care in the post partum period. Additionally, poor control of diabetes can lead to a variety of birth defects involving the heart, kidneys, eyes, and central nervous system, as well as increased risk of miscarriage. As these conditions are more likely if the mother has high blood glucose a gestational diabetes diet should be undertaken.

Gestational diabetes diet

The gestational diabetes diet is similar to that of type-2 diabetes - a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.

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Last updated 23 January 2009

Disclaimer: The Diabetes Diet website should be used to support rather than replace medical advice advocated by physicians.

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