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Gestational Diabetes: Care Instructions


Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that is first diagnosed during pregnancy. When you have this condition, the insulin in your body isn't able to keep your blood sugar in a safe range. Most of the time, gestational diabetes goes away after your baby is born.

Managing your blood sugar is the key to preventing problems during pregnancy, birth, and after your baby is born. You may be able to do this with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and checking your blood sugar at home. You may need to take diabetes medicine, such as insulin or pills, to keep your blood sugar in a safe range.

If you've had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of having it in a future pregnancy. You're also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Make healthy food choices. Try to eat plenty of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Follow your meal plan to know how much carbohydrate you need for meals and snacks. A registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator can help you plan meals.
  • Get regular exercise. Doing things like walking or swimming several times a week can be good for you and your baby. If you haven't been active, talk with your doctor before you start.
  • Don't diet to lose weight. Ask your doctor what your range is for healthy weight gain.
  • Check your blood sugar as directed. Your doctor will tell you how and when to check your blood sugar.
  • If your doctor prescribes medicine, such as insulin or pills, use it as directed. Your doctor will tell you how and when to take your medicine.
  • Check your baby's movement as directed. Your doctor may ask you to report how many times in an hour you feel your baby move.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness), or you suddenly become very sleepy or confused. (You may have very low blood sugar.)
  • You have symptoms of high blood sugar, such as:
    • Trouble staying awake or being woken up.
    • Fast, deep breathing.
    • Breath that smells fruity.
    • Belly pain, not feeling hungry, and vomiting.
    • Feeling confused.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are sick and cannot control your blood sugar.
  • You have been vomiting or have had diarrhea for more than 6 hours.
  • Your blood sugar stays higher than the level your doctor has set for you.
  • You have symptoms of low blood sugar, such as:
    • Sweating.
    • Feeling nervous, shaky, and weak.
    • Extreme hunger and slight nausea.
    • Dizziness and headache.
    • Blurred vision.
    • Confusion.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You have a hard time knowing when your blood sugar is low.
  • You have trouble keeping your blood sugar in the target range.
  • You often have problems controlling your blood sugar.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.