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Gestational Diabetes


Gestational diabetes is also called gestational diabetes mellitus, or GDM. It is a type of diabetes that may develop during pregnancy, usually in the second or third trimester. Diabetes can cause your blood sugar levels to be too high. This can harm you and your unborn baby. Blood sugar levels go back to normal for most women after they give birth.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


  • Gestational diabetes increases your risk of premature (early) labor or a caesarean (C-section) delivery. You are at higher risk of bladder or vaginal infections. You may develop GDM with future pregnancies or diabetes later in life.

  • Gestational diabetes increases the risk that your baby will weigh more than 8½ pounds at birth. He may also have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) after birth. He may have twitching of the hands and feet, or cramping muscles caused by low calcium and magnesium levels. He is at an increased risk of prolonged (longer than normal) newborn jaundice (yellowing of the skin).


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.


A dietitian may work with you to find a meal plan that will help you control your blood sugar. Ask caregivers how your favorite foods may fit into this meal plan.



This medicine may be given to decrease the amount of sugar in your blood. It helps your body move the sugar to your cells, where it is needed for energy.


You may need any of the following tests:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • Urine sample: A sample of your urine is collected in a cup. It is tested for the amount of ketones and sugar in your urine. This test tells caregivers how well your blood sugar is being controlled, and if you need more tests.

  • External fetal heart monitoring: Caregivers may use this to monitor your baby's heartbeat, and the contractions of your uterus. A small metal disc (monitor) with gel on it is placed on your abdomen. A belt will be fastened around your waist to hold the monitor in place. The monitor may need to be moved as your baby moves inside you. It may also be put on and taken off, or left in place. The monitor is attached to a machine with a TV-type screen, or a printer. The screen or the paper print out shows a tracing of your uterus contracting, and the baby's heartbeat.

  • Fetal ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to show pictures of your baby (fetus) inside your uterus. Jelly-like lotion is put on your abdomen, and a small handle is gently moved through the lotion. As this is done, pictures of your baby can be seen on a TV-like screen. Caregivers can learn the age of your baby, and see how fast he is growing. The movement, heart rate, and position of your baby can also be seen. Caregivers can see your placenta, and can tell if you have more than one baby.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Gestational Diabetes (Inpatient Care)