Having gestational diabetes can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman who has never had diabetes before has high blood sugar while she is pregnant. You may not experience any symptoms of gestational diabetes, so it is important to have your blood sugar tested if you are pregnant and at risk. With help from your care provider, gestational diabetes can be managed during pregnancy and will usually resolve itself once you’ve given birth.
Having gestational diabetes does put you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body produces insulin but is unable to respond to it properly, leading to high blood sugar.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
- Feeling very hungry and thirsty.
- Urinating often.
- Being very tired.
- Having blurry vision.
- Sensations of tingling, pain or numbness in your hands or feet.
If you had gestational diabetes while pregnant, there are important steps to take so that you can stay healthy and manage or prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Get tested after your baby is born. Because not everyone experiences the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, it’s very important to be tested after giving birth so you can begin treatment if needed. If diabetes is left untreated, it can lead to many very serious health complications – seek out testing and treatment as soon as possible.
- Tell all your providers that you’ve had gestational diabetes. Because gestational diabetes puts you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes long after you’ve given birth, it’s important to watch this aspect of your health closely. Your providers can help you test regularly to ensure your safety. If your blood sugar test shows you have prediabetes, retest every year. If your test returns normal, retest every 3 years.
- Eat well. The food you eat has a big impact on your blood sugar. Eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugary foods and drinks can help manage diabetes.
- Breastfeed. Breastfeeding your baby may help your body regulate your blood sugar.
- Stay active. Exercise regularly, aiming for 30 minutes per day and 5 days per week. Being at a healthy weight can also help regulate your blood sugar.