Gestational diabetes affects at least 7% and possibly as many as 18% of pregnancies in the United States. It occurs more often in women with a family history of diabetes,
overweight or obese women, and Latina, African American, American Indian, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Alaska Native women.
Even if the diabetes goes away after your baby is born, you still have a greater chance of developing
type 2 diabetes later in life, and your child from that pregnancy may have a greater chance of being obese and getting type 2 diabetes. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and keep your child from that pregnancy healthy.
Action Steps for You:
Get tested for diabetes.
- Get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born. If the test is normal, get tested every 3 years. If the test results show that your blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal but not high enough to be diabetes, also called prediabetes, get tested for diabetes every year.
- Talk to your doctor about your test results and what you can do to stay healthy.
- If your test results show that you could get diabetes and you are overweight, ask your doctor about what changes you can make to lose weight and for help in making them. You may need to take medicine such as metformin to help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Change the foods you eat and be more active.
- Choose healthy foods such as:
Fruits that are fresh, frozen, or canned in water
- Lean meats, chicken and turkey with the skin removed, and fish
- Skim or low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Vegetables, whole grains, dried beans, and peas
- Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.
- Eat smaller amounts of food to help you reach and stay at a healthy weight. For example, eat a 3-ounce hamburger instead of a 6-ounce hamburger. Three ounces is about the size of your fist or a deck of cards.
Be more active each day.
- Try to get at least 30 minutes of
activity, 5 days a week. It is okay to be active for 10 minutes at a time, 3 times a day. Walk with friends, swim, or garden to move more.
- Try to get back to a healthy weight. Talk to your health care team about a plan to help you lose weight slowly. Being at a healthy weight can help reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.
Action Steps for the Whole Family:
- Ask your doctor for an eating plan that will help your children grow and be at a healthy weight.
- Help your children make healthy food choices.
- Help your children
be active for at least 60 minutes each day.
- Do things together as a family, such as
making healthy meals or playing active games together.
- Limit your kids'
screen time in front of the computer, tablets, smartphones, and TV to 2 hours or less per day.
- Contact your local parks department or local health department to learn where you can find safe places to be active and get healthy foods.
Other Action Steps:
- Tell your doctor or health care team if you had gestational diabetes and/or you want to get pregnant again.
Breastfeed your baby to help you lose weight and improve your child's health.
- Make sure your history of gestational diabetes is in your child's health record.
Things to Remember:
- Get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born.
- Take steps to lower your chances of getting diabetes by being more active and making healthy choices to get back to a healthy weight.
- Help your children be healthy and lower their chances of getting type 2 diabetes.
Additional Information on HealthyChildren.org: