Does gestational diabetes go away after pregnancy? Know the truth

Published on: 30 January 2022, 12:00 pm IST

Gestational diabetes is a common occurrence during pregnancy, but can be tackled with a few steps after conceiving a child.

gestational diabetes
It is common for pregnant women to get diabetes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Gestational diabetes occurs in women during pregnancy, usually in the third trimester. It is usual for doctors to screen for gestational diabetes when it has been 24 to 28 weeks into pregnancy. You can heave a sigh of relief, because this issue can be managed with a balanced diet and regular exercise. But make a note that a woman with gestational diabetes might need to take insulin at times to manage her diabetes.

What causes gestational diabetes?

When your body doesn’t create enough insulin during pregnancy, you get gestational diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that acts as a key to allowing blood sugar into your body’s cells for energy use.

During pregnancy, the body undergoes many changes and produces many hormones. Insulin resistance is a condition in which your body’s cells utilize insulin less effectively, as a result of these changes. During late pregnancy, all pregnant women experience some insulin resistance. However, some women are already insulin resistant, even before pregnancy. They have a higher insulin requirement at the onset of pregnancy and are more prone to developing gestational diabetes.

Does gestational diabetes go away after pregnancy?

After your baby is delivered, gestational diabetes normally goes away on its own, and you can hopefully stop any gestational diabetes medication you’ve been taking. However, some women’s blood glucose levels remain elevated after delivery.

If you had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, the doctors will do some tests before releasing you from the hospital, to ensure that your glucose levels are normal. This is usually diagnosed by a Glucose Challenge Test around 24 weeks by giving 100 gm glucose. Blood sugar is measured 1 hour later. It should ideally be <140 mg/dl.

gestational diabetes during pregnancy,
Keep your sugar in check during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

You should get your blood sugar levels checked between six and eight weeks after the delivery. It’s critical not to overlook or evade these follow-up tests. Following a diagnosis of gestational diabetes, you have a 50 percent chance of getting type 2 diabetes at some time in your life. Medical follow-up is critical for all women who have experienced gestational diabetes.

Can gestational diabetes cause more issues?

The days, weeks, and months following gestational diabetes are when you are at risk for physical and emotional problems. However, it is also a time when you can begin to form healthy habits that will help you stay healthy in the future.

Keep in touch with your medical team and keep all of your appointments. One should make an effort to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Eat healthy and exercise regularly. You took care of your gestational diabetes; now it’s time to take care of your future diabetes.

People with larger bodies or who are obese are more likely to develop gestational diabetes. Therefore, they should be aware of the signs while pregnant.
Doctors can control gestational diabetes with the right medication. If a person does not seek therapy or make the necessary modifications, significant complications, such as preeclampsia, large birth weight of babies, preterm delivery and still birth may develop.

gestational diabetes during pregnancy
Regular walking can help you control the incidence of gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Women conceiving through assisted conception (IVF) have been found to have a higher incidence of gestational diabetes. The exact mechanism is unclear. However, it could be because of associated obesity and polycystic ovaries.

The last word

It is therefore important to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle before conceiving. It is also important to monitor your sugar during pregnancy and diagnose gestational diabetes. Once diagnosed, treatment should be initiated to obtain strict blood sugar levels with diet and medicine. Sometimes, the help of an endocrinologist may also be sought.

Dr Kaberi Banerjee Dr Kaberi Banerjee

IVF Specialist and Director of Advance Fertility and Gynaecology Centre

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