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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the treatment for gestational diabetes?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    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 management and treatment of gestational diabetes is a team effort, involving the woman with gestational diabetes, family, doctor and specialists, dietitian and Credentialed Diabetes Educator. There are three basic components in effectively managing gestational diabetes:·        

    - monitoring blood glucose levels 
    - adopting a healthy eating pattern
    - physical activity

    For some women insulin injections maybe required to help manage their gestational diabetes.  

  • 1


    Carolien Koreneff

    Counsellor, Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Psychotherapist, Registered Nurse

    Carolien Koreneff is a Somatic (body-oriented) psychotherapist, Health Coach, Counsellor as well as a Credentialed Diabetes Educator with over 20 years experience. She currently sees … View Profile

    The main treatment for gestational diabetes (GDM) is through diet and exercise.  Women are usually asked to spread carbohydrates out across the day and restrict their carbohydrate intake to around 2 portions (30g) carbs for breakfast and morning tea, 3 (45g) for lunch and dinner and 1-2 (15-30g) for afternoon tea and supper. It is also recommended to do 30 minutes of exercise per day.  This can be challenging, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy, but exercise can be split up across the day. You could do 30 minutes once daily or you can do 10-15 minutes 2-3 times per day.  My experience is that women who go for a brisk walk of 10-15 minutes after each main meal do best at keeping their glucose levels under control.
    In around 30% of women with gestational diabetes diet and exercise alone is not enough. They may need insulin treatment which can be given once or more times per day depending on their blood glucose levels. Insulin doses can vary from 4 to 400 units per day, your endocrinologist or Credentialed Diabetes Educator will be able to advice you on your specific situation. 
    Bllod glucose monitoring is not actually a treatment for diabetes, but it is a very important component in assessing your progress. Most women are asked to check their BGLs up to 4 times per day, again it is best to talk to you team as guidelines around timing, frequency and treatment targets can vary from place to place.
    All the best for a good pregnancy and a speedy delivery without complications!

  • 1


    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

    If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes you should be under the care of an endocrinologist because gestational diabetes can hurt you and your baby, you need to start treatment quickly. Treatment for gestational diabetes aims to keep blood glucose levels equal to those of pregnant women who don't have gestational diabetes. Treatment for gestational diabetes always includes special meal plans and scheduled physical activity, these should be planned for you by a specialist. It may also include daily blood glucose testing and medication or insulin injections.
    You will probably be testing your blood glucose to achieve stringent glycaemic goals which are appropriate for each individual. You normally test before a meal (preprandial) and 1-hour after a meal (postprandial).
    You will need help from your doctor diabetic educator, and other members of your health care team so that your treatment for gestational diabetes can be changed as needed. For you as the mother-to-be, treatment for gestational diabetes helps lower the risk of a caesarean section birth that very large babies may require. Sticking with your treatment for gestational diabetes will give you a healthy pregnancy and birth, and may help your baby avoid future poor health. Try not to worry while gestational diabetes is a cause for concern, the good news is that you and your health care team - your doctor, obstetrician, diabetic educator, and dietitian - work together to lower your high blood glucose levels. And with this help, you can turn your concern into a healthy pregnancy for you, and a healthy start for your baby.

    Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy. But once you've had gestational diabetes, your chances are 2 in 3 that it will return in future pregnancies. In a few women, however, pregnancy uncovers type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It is hard to tell whether these women have gestational diabetes or have just started showing their diabetes during pregnancy. These women will need to continue diabetes treatment after pregnancy. Many women who have gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes years later. There seems to be a link between the tendency to have gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes both involve insulin resistance. Certain basic lifestyle changes may help prevent diabetes after gestational diabetes. Lower your risk for diabetes by losing weight
    Losing even a few kilos can help you avoid developing type 2 diabetes. Making healthy food choices Follow simple daily guidelines, like eating a variety of foods including fresh fruits and vegetables, limiting fat intake to 30% or less of daily calories, and watching your portion size. Healthy eating habits can go a long way in preventing diabetes and other health problems. Regular exercise allows your body to use glucose without extra insulin. This helps combat insulin resistance and is what makes exercise helpful to people with diabetes. Never start an exercise program without checking with your doctor first.

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