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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can gestational diabetes be prevented?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Diabetes Australia is the national peak body for diabetes in Australia providing a single, powerful, collective voice for people living with diabetes, their families and … View Profile

    The risk of getting gestational diabetes is lessened by maintaining a healthy lifestyle prior to pregnancy. This includes weight control, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    In some women, gestational diabetes cannot be prevented. But you may be able to lower your chance of getting gestational diabetes by staying at a healthy weight and not gaining too much weight during pregnancy. Regular exercise can also help keep your blood sugar level within a target range and prevent gestational diabetes. Eat a healthy diet of fish, lean meat and chicken, eggs, low fat dairy products, fruit, veges and salads. You must watch your weight gain during pregnancy so keep your portions small and do regular exercise. It is recommended for you to consult an accredited practising dietitian who will help formulate a healthy meal plan.
    If you have had gestational diabetes, you are at risk for having it again in a future pregnancy. You are also at risk for type 2 diabetes, a permanent type of diabetes. One of the best ways to prevent developing gestational diabetes again is to stay at a healthy weight.

  • Kate Marsh

    Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Dietitian

    Kate works with clients with type 1 and gestational diabetes, PCOS, and those following a plant-based (vegetarian or vegan) diet. As a diabetes educator, she … View Profile

    While there are a number of risk factors for gestational diabetes (GDM) which you can't change such as family history, age, and ethnic background, there are also many modifiable risk factors including your weight, eating habits and activity levels.  Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight before you conceive will go a long way towards reducing your risk. If you are overweight then losing weight prior to falling pregnant is important and even losing 5-10% of your weight can help.  Continuing to eat well, remain active and managing your weight gain in pregnancy will also help to reduce the risk. 

    When it comes to diet, studies have shown that women with a lower intake of saturated fat and a higher intake of fibre and wholegrains are less likely to develop GDM.  High intakes of red meat and eggs prior to and during pregnancy have been shown to increase the risk.  Low GI diets have been shown to help manage glucose levels in women with GDM and reduce the need for insulin, and may also reduce the chances of developing GDM in the first place, and studies are underway to see if this is the case.

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