Gestational Diabetes FAQ’s

Will my baby get diabetes?

The baby will not be born with diabetes, although because your baby will have inherited your genes, the risk is higher for them to develop diabetes later in life. This is why it is important to make healthy life choices when it comes to eating and exercising, which your health care team will help you plan!

Does insulin harm my baby?

Insulin does not cross the placenta and will not harm the baby.

Does having high blood glucose harm my baby?

High glucose, if left untreated can cross the placenta and create some harm. As your pregnancy progresses, a constant high glucose environment can produce a larger baby. That is why it is important to make sure you are managing you blood sugars well and taking insulin if required by your health care time.

What are my chances of getting diabetes in the long term?

During your pregnancy, your pancreas was not able to keep up with your body’s need for insulin this is why you developed gestational diabetes. In the long term after pregnancy is over and your GDM has gone away, there is a possibility of developing diabetes later in life. This is especially true if you gain excess weight, don’t practice enough healthy eating, or partake in enough exercise. The risk of diabetes at fifteen years after a baby is born can be as high as 50% in the mother. This is why it is so important to continue to follow a healthy lifestyle even after birth.

Diabetes can cause complications to eyes and kidneys; will I get them?

Usually you will have had to have diabetes for quite some time to have these kinds of complications, so we would not expect a mother with gestational diabetes to get these problems during the pregnancy.

If I get low blood sugar, does this harm the baby?

Low blood sugar does not seem to harm the baby. Low sugars in treated gestational diabetes are rare as the mother is so resistant to insulin. Research suggests that low sugars have to be quite severe and persist for a long time before showing any harm to the baby.

What are the lower limits for my sugars?

As a general guide, a fasting sugar below 3.5 mmol/l (63 mgs/dl), a one hour after meal value of 4.5 mmol/l (81 mgs/dl), or a two hour after meal value of 4.0 mmol/l (72 mgs/dl) would be considered low and if on therapy, would prompt a reduction in the insulin. If you are not on treatment and get low numbers like these then no intervention is required, these values are likely within the normal range despite being at the lower end.

Am I more likely to have a stillbirth?

Few words are more feared than the word Stillbirth. It is devastating when it happens. A research study published in the Lancet in 2007 by Smith and Fretts indicates that the overall rate of stillbirth is 6-7 per 1,000 deliveries. An important issue is whether it is more common in GDM. A study of over 10,000 pregnancies by Karmon reported in 2009 in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, showed no increase in stillbirth and the Ohana study from Israel in 2011 published in the Journal of Maternal Fetal Neonatal Medicine, of more than 220,000 births where there was 1,694 intrauterine deaths showed GDM was not a risk factor. In a population-based research study from Sweden by Fadl in 2010 published in Diabetic Medicine, showed that there was no difference in the stillbirth rate if a mother had GDM. This scientific evidence indicates that having GDM does not increases the risk of stillbirth. More research is still ongoing and has yet to show that stillbirth is associated with having GDM.