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Treatment for Gestational Diabetes

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How Do I Know if I Have Gestational Diabetes?

If you have risk factors for diabetes, such as being overweight, having high blood pressure, or having a family history of diabetes, you should be tested for diabetes before becoming pregnant, or as soon as you know you are pregnant. Since most birth defects happen within the first three to six weeks after conception, it's important that diabetes be controlled even before you get pregnant. Your health care provider can give you a blood test to check for diabetes.

All women should be screened for gestational diabetes 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, even if you aren't at risk. During the glucose challenge test, you'll be given a very sweet drink containing exactly 50 grams of sugar. One hour after you drink the sugar solution, your health care provider will test your blood to determine your blood sugar level.

Understanding Gestational Diabetes

Find out more about gestational diabetes:






If your glucose challenge screening test comes out abnormally high (higher than 130 to 140 mg/dL), you'll be asked to return to the doctor's office for a slightly more involved diagnostic test, called the 3-hour glucose tolerance test. For this test, you may be given special dietary instructions to follow before the test. You'll need to fast for eight to 12 hours before the test. At the time of the test, you'll first have your blood tested to determine your fasting blood sugar level. Then you'll be given a drink containing exactly 100 grams of glucose. Your blood sugar will be tested one, two, and three hours later. The diagnosis of gestational diabetes is made if two or more values are abnormally high.

What Are the Treatments for Gestational Diabetes?

If you have gestational diabetes, you will be asked to take certain dietary and lifestyle measures to keep your blood sugar at a safe level. These include:

  • Modifying your diet: Your health care provider may suggest you meet with a registered dietitian to help you design a reasonable diet plan -- one that will address the gestational diabetes but still provide your growing baby with sufficient calories and nutrients. Your dietitian will recommend the number of total daily calories appropriate for a woman your height and weight. About 2,200 to 2,500 calories per day is usually recommended for women of average weight. Overweight women may be asked to stick to diets of about 1,800 calories per day. Your dietitian can teach you how to balance your diet, probably suggesting that about 10% to 20% of your calories come from protein sources (meats, cheeses, eggs, seafood, and legumes); less than 30% of your calories come from fats (with less than 10% of those from saturated fats); and the rest of your calories come from carbohydrates (breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables).
  • Exercising: Your health care provider may suggest you add exercise to your weekly routine. Exercising four to five times a week helps the body use insulin more efficiently, which helps control blood sugar levels. But follow your health care provider's instructions regarding how much exercise is right for you.
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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