Gestational diabetes can typically be managed during pregnancy using exercise, dietary adjustments, or insulin. It usually resolves shortly after delivery.

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Between 2–10% of pregnancies in the United States are complicated by gestational diabetes. This condition can increase the risk of high blood pressure in pregnancy as well as the possibility of a difficult delivery from a large baby.

Regular exercise and dietary changes can help regulate your blood sugar if you have gestational diabetes, but they won’t make the condition go away. Fortunately, many cases of gestational diabetes resolve on their own shortly after delivery.

Learn more about gestational diabetes.

During pregnancy, it’s important to take action to control your blood sugar levels if you have gestational diabetes, but this will not make the condition go away before the birth.

Most cases of gestational diabetes resolve naturally shortly after delivery. If you are still testing positive for diabetes by about 12 weeks after delivery, the condition becomes known as type 2 diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),50% of people who have gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

If you have gestational diabetes during one pregnancy, you are also at an increased risk of experiencing it in future pregnancies.

Rates of gestational diabetes increase across all races when individual BMI rises. However, a 2019 study found gestational diabetes occurring at a higher percentage among Asian and Hispanic people, even at lower BMI.

Further gestational diabetes research is needed to thoroughly consider the role of environmental, behavioral, and socioeconomic factors (such as access to healthcare and fresh, nutritious food) in the higher rates of gestational diabetes in some races.

Gestational diabetes occurs when your body is not producing sufficient insulin.

Hormonal and weight changes during pregnancy can lead to insulin resistance. This decreases how efficiently your body uses insulin and increases the amount of insulin the body needs. When sufficient insulin is not produced, gestational diabetes results.

Learn more about the importance of insulin.

It’s not fully understood why some people experience gestational diabetes and others don’t. Risk factors may include:

  • being over 40 years
  • having a body mass index (BMI) above 30
  • previously giving birth to a baby that weighed more than 10 pounds (4.5 kg)
  • experiencing gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
  • having parents or siblings with diabetes
  • previous weight loss surgery

You can often treat gestational diabetes with regular exercise and dietary adjustments. When lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient to regulate blood sugar, doctors may prescribe insulin.

If your doctor prescribes insulin, it’s important to follow the dosage instructions since too much or too little insulin in the body can have serious health consequences, including coma or death.

There is a chance that insulin shots may cause itching, swelling, or redness near the injection site. You should notify your doctor if you notice signs of a reaction.

If you are using exercise to help manage your gestational diabetes, it’s also important to talk with your doctor about what forms of exercise are safe during pregnancy. With any form of exercise, there is a potential for injury, and it’s important to take appropriate measures to protect against this.

If you have gestational diabetes:

  • Check your blood sugar frequently.
  • Talk with your doctor or a registered dietician about proper portion sizes and meal timing.
  • Exercise frequently (walking and swimming may be good options during pregnancy).
  • Keep any recommended appointments so that your baby’s growth and development are tracked.
  • Ask your healthcare professional about early testing for gestational diabetes in future pregnancies.

How long does it take for gestational diabetes to go away?

Most cases of gestational diabetes go away shortly after the baby is born. People who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy should be tested for diabetes about 6–12 weeks after their pregnancy.

Can gestational diabetes go away on its own?

Although you can manage gestational diabetes with diet, exercise, or insulin, the condition will not go away on its own during pregnancy. However, gestational diabetes will frequently resolve shortly after delivery.

Does my baby have a greater chance of developing diabetes if I have gestational diabetes?

Babies born to people who have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity in the future.

Most cases of gestational diabetes can be managed with diet, exercise, or insulin during pregnancy and will resolve shortly after delivery. Regularly monitoring your blood glucose levels can help manage this condition.

Having gestational diabetes may increase the likelihood that you will develop type 2 diabetes later in life. It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and talk with your doctor about getting tested for diabetes in the future if you have gestational diabetes.