Life After Gestational Diabetes
What is Gestational (jes-TAY-shon-al) Diabetes?
It is a type of diabetes that is first diagnosed when a woman is pregnant. Having it raises her risk for getting diabetes, mostly Type 2, for the rest of her life. African American, Hispanic/Latina, American Indian, and Alaska Native women have the highest risk of developing gestational diabetes.
In addition to becoming a Type 2 diabetic after delivery, all women with gestational diabetes are “pre-diabetic” after the baby is born. Your child also has a lifelong risk for getting Type 2 diabetes.
Once You Go Home After Your Baby is Born
First 6 Weeks at Home:
- Keep a log of blood glucose levels for your doctor; bring the log to your next doctor’s visit.
- Check blood sugar twice a day; once fasting, and 2 hours after a meal for three weeks. You may discontinue testing if blood glucose remains in target level: 70-100 when fasting and 120-140 after meals.
- Call your doctor for further advice or for a referral to a diabetes specialist if your blood glucoses are higher than target levels.
- A dietitian will help you make changes to your diet if you are breastfeeding. You should still eat three meals and three snacks every day.
6-12 Weeks After Your Baby is Born:
- Keep your follow-up appointment with your obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN)
- You should have a 75 gram oral glucose tolerance test with insulin levels 6-12 weeks after delivery (according to the guidelines from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology). You may be referred to a specialist for treatment if your test results are not normal.
Metabolic Health Clinic
“Know Your Risks & What You Should Do After Pregnancy”
Post Pregnancy and Beyond
- Tell all of your doctors that you had gestational diabetes. Also tell your child’s doctor that you had gestational diabetes.
- Consider breastfeeding your baby for at least six to nine months or more. It may lower your child’s risk for Type 2 diabetes.
- Try to reach your pre-pregnancy weight six to 12 months after your baby is born. Then, if you still weigh too much, work to lose at least five to seven percent (10 to 14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) of your body weight slowly, over time, and keep it off.
- Make healthy food choices for you and your family such as fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, dry beans and peas, whole grains, and low-fat or skim milk, and cheese. Eat smaller portions, and choose water to drink.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle. Be active at least 30 minutes, five days per week to help burn calories and lose weight.
- One year after your baby is born, you should have a repeat 75 gram oral glucose tolerence test with insulin.
- Talk to your doctor if you plan to become pregnant again in the future. If you plan to become pregnant in less than one year, you should be tested with a 75 gram oral glucose tolerance test before you become pregnant.