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Gestational Diabetes or GDM: What Every Mom-to-be Needs to Know

Published on: Jul 27, 2021
6 min Read
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What is Gestational Diabetes?

As the name suggests, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It can also happen to women who have never had diabetes before. In most cases, it is a temporary form of pregnancy-related diabetes that is commonly known as pregnancy diabetes and goes away after you give birth to your baby.

A woman with gestational diabetes or pregnancy diabetes cannot keep blood sugar levels in the healthy range because a hormone made by the placenta prevents the body from using the insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone which keeps the blood sugar levels within the target range.

Inability of the body to use insulin effectively, causes a spike in blood sugar levels, thereby causing gestational diabetes.

Here is a 90-seconds video to help you understand what is gestational diabetes and how it affects your pregnancy.

How gestational diabetes affects you and your baby

Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can have several health risks for both the mom and the baby

Complications for the mother Complications for the baby
High blood pressure and preeclampsia Excessive birth weight
Increased chances of having a surgical delivery (C-section) Early (pre-term) birth
Risk for type 2 diabetes in the future Breathing difficulties
Low blood sugar shortly after the birth
Obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life

Among the ones listed above, one of the biggest risks of gestational diabetes is that the baby may grow larger than the normal. So, there is a high chance of the baby’s shoulders to get stuck during delivery. This greatly increases the chances of the cesarean section instead of vaginal delivery.

Who is at risk to develop gestational diabetes?

Typically, women who are obese or overweight with a BMI of more than 25 are at high risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Other risk factors include:

  1. A sedentary lifestyle with lack of exercise
  2. Previous history of diabetes or borderline diabetes
  3. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  4. Women who have had gestational diabetes in their previous pregnancies
  5. Family history of diabetes
  6. Previous baby delivered weighing more than 4 kg
  7. Race – South Asian women have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes.
  8. Women who are expecting multiple babies
  9. Women who have gained a larger than normal amount of weight during pregnancy
    • In general, it is recommended, a pregnant woman should typically gain 1 to 2 kilos in the first three months and 1 kilo per two weeks for the rest of the pregnancy.
  10. Are above 25 years of age
  11. Have had miscarriage or stillbirth in the past
  12. Have been on glucocorticoids.

What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?

For most pregnant women, gestational diabetes may go unnoticed as it does not show any obvious signs and symptoms. The possible symptoms are increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision and snoring.

Since the symptoms are so hard to pick up on, gestational diabetes is diagnosed by testing the sugar levels during 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy.

Your doctor will perform the following screening tests to diagnose gestational diabetes:

  1. Initial glucose challenge test

    This blood test includes measuring blood sugar levels one hour after drinking the syrupy glucose solution. If the sugar level is higher than the normal (140 mg/dL), the patient will need another glucose tolerance test to rule out gestational diabetes.

  2. Follow-up glucose tolerance test

    This test is similar to the initial test, where a patient’s blood sugar will be checked every hour for 3 hours. If at least 2 of the blood sugar readings are higher than the normal values, the diagnosis of gestational diabetes will be confirmed.

The symptoms of gestational diabetes mimic the normal changes of pregnancy. Here’s some more detailed information on GDM symptoms that every pregnant woman must watch out for.

Treatment of pregnancy diabetes

The pregnancy-related diabetes is treated by three ways mainly as outlined below:

  1. Lifestyle therapy

    which includes healthy eating and regular exercise – According to top Gynecologists’ and Endocrinologists’ opinion and as per international guidelines, a healthy lifestyle is the first treatment of choice to manage gestational diabetes.

  2. Blood sugar monitoring – 

    The blood glucose levels of a pregnant woman tells if her gestational diabetes is under control or not. Fluctuations in the blood sugar levels allows the doctor and the nutritionist to make necessary modifications in the diet, exercise and medication dosage that will keep her blood sugars within the healthy range.

  3. Medications like insulin injections,

    if necessary – For many women with gestational diabetes, insulin is used as a gold standard treatment where solely lifestyle therapy does not help in achieving the healthy blood sugar levels. Insulin is safe to use during pregnancy and does not cause any harm to the developing baby

In addition to this, the doctor will closely monitor the growth of the developing baby with repeated ultrasounds and other tests.

Most women with gestational diabetes respond well to lifestyle therapy wherein a healthy diet plays a major role. Proper meal planning, portion control, wholesome snacking, eating regularly every two hours, spacing-out carbohydrates-rich food, monitoring protein intake and including healthy fats can help in managing gestational diabetes.

Click here to check out a few examples of yummy & nutritious Indian foods that you can include in your daily meals to manage gestational diabetes.

In addition to this, it is advised to aim for 30 mins of moderate exercise on most days of the week after the doctor gives a go-ahead. To begin with, you can start with a slow walk.

Adhering to a healthy lifestyle while coping with existing pregnancy symptoms, cravings, mood swings etc. might be another mountain to scale for you during pregnancy.

And, the added stress of being diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy can be even more disturbing. Also, with so many conflicting opinions and generic advice from everyone, you may not know what is right for you and your baby.

To end all these problems, Team Fitterfly has launched India’s first-ever Digital Therapeutics Pregnancy Care Program for women with pregnancy diabetes — Diabefly GDM.

Diabefly GDM allows patient to make smart food choices and also take control of various other lifestyle factors – like physical activity, sleep, stress and much more. And, managing these factors together under expert guidance has its proven benefits.

Diabefly GDM can help a woman with gestational diabetes in the following ways:

  • Personalised nutrition plans to ensure trimester-specific nutritional guidance and manage high blood sugars. Your Diabefly Coach who is a maternal and neonatal health expert will conduct detailed diet assessments to correct macro & micronutrient imbalances.
  • Safe pregnancy exercises and fitness guidance by a certified Physiotherapist to prevent extra weight gain, reduce physical problems of pregnancy like backache, help in postural correction and prepare you for labour & delivery.
  • Sleep and stress management through guided therapy sessions after one-on-one multiple consultations with a Clinical Psychologist.
  • Continuous call and chat support from an expert Diabefly GDM Coach.

Allow a Diabefly GDM Coach-your buddy to walk you through this and answer all your questions. End all your worries because of pregnancy-related diabetes, instead make lifetime memories with Diabefly GDM.

Call now at 022 4897 1077 or visit our website at to know more.

About Diabefly GDM

Diabefly GDM is a digital therapeutics pregnancy care program for pregnant women with gestational diabetes. It is specially designed to control pregnancy-related diabetes and that too naturally!

It offers helpful, practical and reliable tips from a team of specialists, including a Diabefly Coach or a Nutritionist, a Physiotherapist and a Psychologist to ensure the best health of pregnant women and her baby from pregnancy to childbirth.

It includes detailed diet analysis, personalised meal and exercise plans trimester wise, practical tips for managing pregnancy-related symptoms, medical reminders, exclusive pregnancy blogs and videos along with call & chat support.

Our Diabefly GDM Coach helps every mom-to-be make smart food choices, stay active, gain weight healthily, manage stress to control pregnancy-related diabetes as she moves forward to welcome a new life!


This blog provides general information for educational and informational purposes only and shouldn't be seen as professional advice.

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- By Fitterfly Health-Team

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