gestational diabetes

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women. Women who are not diabetic, might have higher blood sugar during pregnancy, which is categorized as gestational diabetes. Though the percentage of gestational diabetes is only 4%, a women might be prone if she already has type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes can be identified during the 2nd or 3rd trimester during pregnancy.

What causes gestational diabetes?

During pregnancy there are many hormonal changes happening in your body. The placenta, which carries the baby secretes hormones that is required for the growth of the baby and wellness of the mother. Sometimes, this hormones disrupts that amount of insulin that is secreted by the pancreas. When there is no enough insulin, the sugar content cannot be broken and absorbed by the body. That is when, pregnant women get affected by gestational diabetes.

There are higher chances when

  • You have had gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies
  • Overweight before getting pregnant
  • Family history
  • High blood sugar levels but not diabetic
  • Poor food habits
  • No physical activity
  • History of PCOS/PCOD

Symptoms of gestational diabetes

There are no particular symptoms that indicate gestational diabetes. You might feel increased thirst, frequent urination, sometimes yeast infection and excessive hunger.


Insulin level test or diabetes test has become mandatory for all pregnant women along with other regular screenings. So, you doctor will ask you to undergo blood test (fasting) and post glucose test (glucose tolerance test) to identify if you have gestational diabetes.

This test will be done usually between 24th and 28th week of your pregnancy and will be repeated if required to monitor the sugar levels.


Regular exercise and proper diet will help you control gestational diabetes easily. Along with diet and physical workout, your doctor will advise you to take insulin medicines to support in controlling the blood sugar levels.


Top myths

#Myth 1: Being overweight

Many people will scare you even if you are slightly overweight, that you might become diabetic during your pregnancy. There are only very less chances for your to become diabetic of you are overweight. Not only over weight, you family history also plays an important role.

#Myth 2: Eating sweets or sugary foods

It is natural for a pregnant women to crave or sweet or sugary foods. If your body has enough insulin to break sugar, there is nothing to worry. It is not by default that you will get affected by gestational diabetes if you consume too many sweets or sugary foods.

#Myth 3: Gestational diabetes is not a serious disease

Diabetes alone causes more number of deaths when compared with breast cancer or AIDS. Proper treatment and care if essential to monitor and control blood sugar level during pregnancy.

#Myth 4: You should eat only less amount of food per meal

A healthy meal plan, is definitely required and important too. But the quantity of the food cannot be defined, as each individual needs different quantity of food carbohydrates for every day activity and energy requirement.

Starch rich and protein rich food can be consumed every day for better energy levels.

#Myth 5: Diabetic can cause other health problems like cough, cold or weakness.

That is definitely a myth. Just because your body does not produce enough insulin, it does not mean that your immunity has gone down. Other than blood sugar levels, there is no other issue in your body.

#Myth 6: You can catch diabetes from others

This is one of the most absurd myths. Diabetes is not catchy!! It is simply the body condition of one person to another. It is not contagious. It can be passed on, only because of hereditary and cannot be passed on if you sneeze, cough or kiss someone.

#Myth 7: Each as much fruits as you want

Fruits is very healthy and is very good for general health. It can be consumed on controlled quantities as fruits contain fructose which is also said to increase the blood sugar levels when consumed in abundance. Eating fruit pulp is advised and avoid fruit juices.

#Myth 8: Slight increase in sugar levels are nothing to worry

When you have been identified with gestational diabetes, you need to be very careful. Because even if the is a slight increase (5-10mg) in the blood sugar level, your baby might be bigger in size and it might lead to complications during birth.

#Myth 9: Women who are thin are not prone to gestational diabetes

Being overweight might be a cause for diabetes, but being thin does not mean that you are not prone to diabetes during pregnancy. If your hormonal changes affect the insulin production, you are prone to gestational diabetes.

#Myth 10: You need insulin medicines if you are diabetic

That is not true. The key to control diabetes is by controlling and having a healthy diet. Apart from following a good diet plan, it is important to have a healthy lifestyle which includes physical activity and gentle exercise.

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.