By Cicle Health on 8 Nov, 2022

Gestational diabetes (GD) is a condition that affects women who are pregnant. It can be managed with diet and exercise, but it's important to know the signs of gestational diabetes, what you can do about it, and how to manage it if you have it.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It's not caused by high blood sugar levels; instead, it's caused by high levels of insulin in the blood. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels and helps cells take up glucose from the bloodstream. Gestational diabetes occurs in many different ways: some women develop GD because they haven't produced enough insulin yet to manage their blood sugar, while others develop GD because their bodies produce too much insulin or don't use it properly.

Signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes include increased thirst, increased urination at night (polyuria), increased hunger, blurred vision or other visual disturbances (diabetic retinopathy), unusual fatigue or weakness (hypoglycemia), darkening of the skin on arms or legs (hyperpigmentation), irregular menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)

Risk factors

The risk factors of gestational diabetes are:

  • being overweight or obese
  • having a family history of gestational diabetes
  • having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or other hormonal issues, like high blood pressure or high blood fat levels


Some treatment options for gestational diabetes include:

  • Lifestyle changes: diet and exercise. Reducing your weight by 5% is recommended as soon as you find out you're pregnant; if you're overweight or obese, losing 10% will do the trick! You also want to make sure that you're getting enough rest and eating healthy foods throughout your pregnancy.
  • Medications: Metformin is one medication used to treat gestational diabetes in some cases. It works by helping your body process glucose properly so that your body doesn't use it as fuel but rather keeps it available for use by new cells growing inside your womb (uterus).
  • Eating a low-carbohydrate diet (no rice, no bread)
  • Exercising regularly (again, no rice or bread)
  • Taking medications to lower your blood pressure

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