Gestational diabetes: How to manage?

If diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor may first recommend that you try controlling your blood sugar level with diet and exercise.

If these lifestyle changes are not sufficient, medication and insulin injections may be prescribed.

“Management of gestational diabetes typically includes self-monitoring of blood glucose levels, diet and exercise, insulin injections in more severe cases and the close monitoring of you and your baby’s well-being by experienced caregivers,” says Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Head and Senior Consultant, Inpatient Service, Department of General Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.

Health complications of uncontrolled gestational diabetes for baby and mother

Poorly controlled or untreated gestational diabetes can put you and your baby at risk of the following:

Risks of gestational diabetes for the baby

  • Excessive weight at birth > 4kg (macrosomia)
  • Foetal abnormalities
  • Sudden foetal death
  • Foetal respiratory distress syndrome
  • Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia after birth
  • Jaundice after birth
  • Type 2 diabetes later in life

Risks of gestational diabetes for the mother

  • High blood pressure / preeclampsia and eclampsia during pregnancy
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Premature delivery
  • Caesarean delivery
  • Gestational diabetes in future pregnancy
  • Type 2 diabetes in future

“Most women who have gestational diabetes and take measures to control it will deliver healthy babies,” says A/Prof Tan. “Usually, their blood sugar level will return to normal shortly after the delivery.”

Your doctor will check your blood sugar level after the delivery and again 6-12 weeks later to ensure that it is back to normal. If your blood sugar is normal, you are likely to be assessed for your diabetes risk every three years.

Ref: R14