What is Gestational Diabetes? How Does it Affect Expecting Mothers?


What is Gestational Diabetes? How Does it Affect Expecting Mothers?

As blissful as it appears, motherhood is also a challenging phase of life. In an effort to ensure a healthy pregnancy, to-be parents leave no stone unturned– from a balanced diet to routine hospital visits and proper medications. Yet, expecting mothers are bound to face common health concerns, like gastric issues, diabetes, and high blood pressure. 

In this article, we have shed light on one of the most common pregnancy issues– gestational diabetes, and its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes or GDM is the rise in blood sugar levels in women, especially during pregnancy. Under this condition, the blood cells are not able to absorb the glucose, thereby forcing the blood glucose levels to shoot up uncontrollably. As a result, gestational diabetes leads to several health problems for the pregnant mother and her baby. 

Among women, gestational diabetes is a less severe stage as compared to type-2 diabetes. Since pregnancy itself has several symptoms, it is hard to notice the signs of gestational diabetes. However, expecting mothers are at higher risk of facing pregnancy-related issues due to gestational diabetes. Thus, managing and controlling gestational diabetes is essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy and stress-free delivery. 

Causes of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus during Pregnancy?

Several hormonal and bodily factors can cause gestational diabetes in pregnant women. Yet, the foremost reason behind gestational diabetes is the hormone called the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone or hCG – produced by the placenta. Produced only during pregnancy, hCG is a hormone that disables the body to utilise insulin properly.

Besides hCG, gestational diabetes during pregnancy is caused by several risk factors, including:

  • Obesity or imbalance in body mass index
  • Women aged more than 25 years are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
  • Lack of physical activity and exercise
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Previous pregnancies wherein the mother delivered a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
  • History of glucose intolerance or prediabetes. 

Apart from these risk factors, studies suggest that women of a certain ethnicity – especially Asian Indian and black race – tend to be at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes. 

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes in Women

While the signs of gestational diabetes are mild and unnoticeable, expecting mothers experience these symptoms, most commonly around the second and third trimesters:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Higher frequency of urination
  • Constant tiredness, and
  • Cloudy eyesight

In some cases, women may struggle with genital itching or infections, given poor health conditions and unhealthy lifestyle habits. 

Types of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Based on the course of treatment, gestational diabetes is divided into two categories:

  1. A1GDM, or diet-controlled gestational diabetes, is the type wherein high blood sugar is controlled by making nutritional and lifestyle changes. This type of GDM does not need medications to control blood glucose levels.
  2. A2GDM, or medication-controlled gestational diabetes, is the type wherein medications and medical treatment is needed to balance the sugar levels in pregnant women.

While both types of diabetes are curable, medications and insulin injections may be necessary if women record unstable blood sugar levels even after adopting lifestyle changes. Thus, it is important to keep monitoring your blood sugar levels during pregnancy.

>> Also Read: The Advantages of Buying Pregnancy Cover for Women

Diet and Treatment Tips to Control Gestational Diabetes

Unlike type-2 diabetes, which needs prolonged medications, gestational diabetes treatment involves easy-to-follow lifestyle changes and dietary planning. Here are a few treatment tips to control GDM:

sugar level for pregnent women

  1. Regular check-ups: Use a manual diabetes testing kit to check your sugar levels at least thrice every day since you have begun dietary changes. The best times to check GDM levels are morning fasting, 1 hour after breakfast and lunch.
  2. Healthy & Balanced Diet: Adopting a healthy diet will not only benefit in controlling gestational diabetes but also improve the overall health of the baby. A gestational diabetes diet should include complete three meals a day and add more fibre, wholewheat, pulses, and beans to your diet. Avoid sugary foods like soft drinks, cakes, and processed foods.
  3. Routine for Exercise: Starting and maintaining a physically active routine is a must for every mom-to-be. Start with easy yoga poses, and make sure you don’t skip the morning and evening walks. Also, try to stretch the muscles and try some strength-building exercises at least twice a week (on the doctor’s recommendation).
  4. Medicinal Course: As mentioned earlier, medications may be necessary even if you are following dietary precautions. This is to ensure stable blood sugar levels throughout your pregnancy. So, always consult your doctor about your medicinal course and follow the prescription religiously. 
  5. Pre and Post-birth Precautions: If you have gestational diabetes, you should ideally give birth around the 38th week of pregnancy to ensure a healthy delivery. If you maintain healthy sugar levels, you can wait for natural labour pain to deliver the baby.

Taking Care of To-be Mothers with Care Health Insurance

Becoming a mother is a beautiful yet overwhelming phase of life. To-be mothers need the utmost attention, care, and above all– financial security to ensure stress-free parenthood. At Care Health Insurance, we provide the essential financial cushioning to expecting mothers with our ‘Maternity Insurance Plan- Joy’. The policy covers major pregnancy-related expenses, including the delivery fee, daycare treatments, ambulance charges, and newborn baby cover. Besides, the plan offers exclusive benefits like access to quality medical care at top private hospitals.

This way, we ensure your journey to motherhood is a memorable and healthy experience.

Disclaimer: The above-mentioned medical advice is for reference only. Kindly consult your doctor for the right treatment. Read the policy documents to verify benefits and coverage.  


View Our Editorial Policy


+91 verified
Please enter a valid mobile number
Please enter a valid Full Name
I have read and agree to the Terms & Conditions
Please select terms and conditions
Get updates on WhatsApp

Articles By Category

Health Insurance Articles
Family Family
Senior Citizens Senior Citizens
Maternity Maternity
Surgery Surgery
Heart Heart
Tax & Investments Tax & Investments
Lifestyle Lifestyle
Awareness Days Awareness Days
Child Care Child Care
Money Saving Tips Money Saving Tips
Festive Days Festive Days
Covid-19 Covid-19
Travel Insurance Articles
International International
Student Student
Travel Tips Travel Tips
Visa Visa
Passport Passport
Insurance Guide
Health Health
Travel Travel

Secure Your Finances Now!

Get the best financial security with Care Health Insurance!


Reach for Services at
whatApp Icon8860402452


Chat with Us

Please Select Chat Option ×
Buy New policy To explore and buy a new policy
Existing policy enquiry for assistance with your existing policy