Gestational Diabetes

If you have gestational diabetes, your doctor can refer you to our experienced diabetes education team who can teach you about:

  • Meal planning
  • Blood-glucose and ketone monitoring
  • Insulin injection and/or oral agents (only if needed)
  • Reducing your risk for developing diabetes after pregnancy

Make an Appointment

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, call 206-215-2440  to make an appointment. Your session with our education team will last two hours - one hour with the nurse and one hour with the nutrition educator. You may bring an adult support person with you to your appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose (or sugar) in your blood goes above normal. A glucose screening test is done near the end of the second trimester or the beginning of the third trimester. If your glucose level is high, a three-hour glucose test is usually done to make the diagnosis of gestational diabetes.

What causes gestational diabetes?

The exact cause of gestational diabetes is unknown. The increasing levels of many hormones in pregnancy produce a resistance in your body that makes it harder for insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas) to lower your blood sugar. Because your body cannot completely adjust for this resistance, your blood sugar rises higher than normal.

How is gestational diabetes treated?

There are several things that can be done to help control blood sugar and keep it in a healthy range for the baby. The first step is to follow a meal plan that meets the nutritional needs of pregnancy and controls the amount of carbohydrate consumed at regularly timed meals and snacks. If you are already exercising, it will help lower sugar. You will learn how to test your own blood sugar at home. At first, you will test your blood sugar several times a day. This will help you know if your sugar is staying within a healthy range for your baby. Your blood sugars will be reviewed throughout the day by the diabetes education team and your doctor.

Will I have diabetes forever?

Blood sugar for most women goes back to normal once the hormones adjust after delivery. However, a small number of women with gestational diabetes do continue to have diabetes after their baby is born. There is a 40 percent to 60 percent chance you will develop diabetes within the next several years. You can lower your risk for developing diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight when you are not pregnant and being physically active.

What does it mean for my baby?

If you have gestational diabetes, it does not mean your baby will have diabetes. With gestational diabetes, your baby may get too much of the glucose (or sugar) from  your blood. This extra supply of sugar from you to the baby will cause extra insulin to be produced by the baby. Your baby will store the extra sugar as fat. An extra-fat baby is very hard to deliver - for you and the baby. At delivery, the baby is still producing extra insulin and may have an undesirable fast drop in blood-glucose level. However, with proper treatment and education, your chances for a healthy baby are excellent.