Several myths exist around gestational diabetes that can cause a person to feel guilty or as though they caused it. However, a person cannot directly cause gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy. It affects
Despite being relatively common, misconceptions and myths about the condition continue to circulate. This article debunks several myths about gestational diabetes and provides factual information about the condition.
There is nothing a person can do to directly cause gestational diabetes. Having risk factors, such as overweight or obesity, does not mean a person will develop the condition. Similarly, a person with no known risk factors may develop gestational diabetes every pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the body produces additional hormones along with other changes, such as weight gain, that can lead to insulin resistance. This means the body does not use insulin effectively.
A person who has obesity or overweight before pregnancy has a higher level of insulin resistance going into pregnancy. They may be more susceptible to developing gestational diabetes. Gaining weight rapidly during pregnancy and a family history of diabetes may also be risk factors.
Learn more about gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is generally self-limiting. Once a person gives birth, the condition will usually resolve.
However, some people will continue to have diabetes after delivery. At that point, the diagnosis typically changes to type 2 diabetes.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help prevent type 2 diabetes from developing.
Learn more about type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is not genetic. A person with no family history of diabetes or gestational diabetes may develop the condition.
However, genetics may play a role. Some evidence suggests that changes in genes, as well as a family history of diabetes, may increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may share similar gene changes with gestational diabetes.
It is likely that genes and environmental factors may contribute to its development.
Learn more about risk factors for diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can affect anyone, regardless of weight.
A person who has overweight or obesity does have an
Learn more about how obesity affects pregnancy.
Living with gestational diabetes means eating a balanced diet. A person can still enjoy occasional sweets, but healthcare professionals typically recommend modifying what they eat.
A healthcare professional will
For some, it may mean relearning how to eat, but most plans should allow for sweets in small to moderate amounts.
In addition to adjusting eating habits, a person will need to monitor their blood sugar levels before and after meals. A healthcare professional will review how often a person should check their blood sugar levels.
If exercise and diet do not help a person improve their blood sugar levels, a doctor may prescribe insulin for the duration of the pregnancy. They also provide detailed instructions on how and when to use it.
Learn more about the best diet for gestational diabetes.
In most cases, a person living with gestational diabetes will be able to avoid medication. A healthcare professional will typically provide a person with a treatment plan comprising
- Healthy eating: This includes foods to eat and limit, as well as when to eat.
- Blood sugar monitoring: This includes how and when to monitor blood sugar levels.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help keep blood sugar levels low.
The following section provides additional answers to questions people often ask about gestational diabetes.
Why do I have gestational diabetes when I’m healthy?
Who is more prone to gestational diabetes?
People with a high risk of gestational diabetes
- having obesity or overweight
- having a family history of diabetes
- gaining weight rapidly during pregnancy
What is the average delivery week for gestational diabetes?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states most people with well-managed blood sugar levels deliver at full-term, which is 37 weeks or more. There is no current data on average delivery times for gestational diabetes.
A person should discuss their delivery dates and expectations with their healthcare professional.
Learn more about delivery times and gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes does not occur because a person did something wrong. It can affect anyone.
However, some people may have certain factors that can increase their risk of developing gestational diabetes. These include a family history of diabetes, having obesity, and rapid weight gain during pregnancy.
A person with gestational diabetes can work with a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan with modifications for diet and exercise as well as timeframes of when to test blood sugar levels.
With proper treatment, an individual may carry their pregnancy to full term and will typically not require medication. However, anyone who develops gestational diabetes is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. They will need regular blood tests to check for this.