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Gestational Diabetes Online Manual

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Your risk of getting type 2 diabetes

Because you've had gestational diabetes, you have an increased risk (40 to 60 percent) of developing type 2 diabetes during your lifetime.

You can reduce this risk by eating well-balanced meals, maintaining a healthy body weight and exercising regularly.

Tip

It is recommended that you have your fasting blood glucose tested every year.

Stay alert to the signs and symptoms of developing diabetes, including:

  • increased thirst
  • frequent urination
  • sores that do not heal
  • frequent yeast infections
  • less energy
  • blurred vision

If you have any of these symptoms, it doesn't necessarily mean you have type 2 diabetes, but it's important that you call your health care provider. In some cases, there are no symptoms at all.

To test for diabetes, your health care provider may do the following tests:

  • hemoglobin A1c (A1c) test:
    This test measures the amount of glucose that attaches to protein in the red blood cell. Because red blood cells live for about 3 months, A1c tests show your average blood glucose during that time.
  • fasting plasma glucose:
    This test measures the amount of glucose in your blood after at least 8 hours of no eating or drinking calories.
  • oral glucose tolerance test:
    This test measures the amount of glucose in your blood when you are fasting and 2 hours after drinking a sweet glucose beverage.

Diagnosing diabetes

Your health care provider will use the following chart to determine whether you have developed prediabetes or diabetes after having gestational diabetes

DiagnosisTests - FastingTests - CasualA1c

Diabetes

126 mg/dL or higher on two occasions

200 mg/dL or higher (with symptoms)

6.5 percent or higher

Prediabetes

100 to 125 mg/dL (IFG*: when your blood glucose is too high in the morning)

140 to 199 mg/dL (IGT**: when your blood glucose is too high during the day)

5.7 to 6.4 percent

Normal

less than 100 mg/dL

less than 140 mg/dL

4 to 5.6 percent

*IFG stands for impaired fasting glucose. **IGT stands for impaired glucose tolerance.

Risk of your baby getting diabetes

Your baby isn't at risk for developing diabetes simply because of your gestational diabetes.

If you follow the guidelines for managing your gestational diabetes and maintain a normal blood glucose level during pregnancy, your baby is less likely to be predisposed to obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.

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Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

Learn more about type 2 diabetes in our health encyclopedia.

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Obesity

Nearly two-thirds of the United States population is overweight.

Learn more about obesity in our health encyclopedia.


 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Gestational Diabetes: When You Have Diabetes During Pregnancy, third edition, ISBN 1-931876-21-6

First published: 11/27/2006
Last updated: 01/20/2014

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts