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Symptoms and complications of gestational diabetes

What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?

You may have been shocked to discover that you have gestational diabetes – many women have no noticeable symptoms.

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Symptoms of diabetes can include:

  • passing urine more often
  • increased thirst
  • extreme tiredness.

However, in gestational diabetes these symptoms are less common – and they often occur during pregnancy anyway.

What are the possible complications?

Managing blood glucose levels during pregnancy is extremely important for the health of you and your baby. For some women, gestational diabetes can usually be managed with changes in diet and physical activity, but, in most cases, medications – including injecting insulin – may be needed.

Your midwife, doctors, nurses and dietitians will work with you and set you targets for your blood glucose levels. Monitoring your levels correctly and meeting your targets will reduce the risk of complications and increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy. But if your gestational diabetes isn’t managed properly, it can put you at an increased risk of developing complications.

Continuous high blood glucose levels can lead to:

  • Needing to have your labour induced.
  • Having a caesarean section.
  • Having a larger than normal baby (macrosomia), which could result in a more painful birth and possible stress for the baby.
  • Your newborn having low blood glucose levels (neonatal hypoglycaemia).
  • Perinatal death – your baby dying at around the time of the birth.
  • Your baby having a higher risk of being overweight or obese and/or developing Type 2 diabetes in later life. As your child grows, managing their weight, eating healthily and being physically active will reduce this risk.
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