Updated 20 February 2017

Treating gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy when the body struggles to properly regulate blood glucose levels. Without proper diagnosis, treatment and management, gestational diabetes can result in serious complications for both mother and child.


Gestational diabetes, if untreated, can pose a serious risk to the health of both the mother and her unborn child. The condition can also greatly increase the risk of miscarriage, still-birth and serious birth defects.

The good news is that through proper control and treatment, these risks are greatly reduced. Many mothers with gestational diabetes experience healthy pregnancies by following treatment guidelines.

Treating gestational diabetes means taking steps to keep your blood glucose levels in a normal blood sugar target range. You will learn how to control your blood glucose with a strict meal plan, some physical activity and appropriate medication advised by your specialist.

How will I know whether my blood glucose levels are on target?

Your health care team may ask you to use a small device called a blood glucose meter (glucometer) to check your levels on your own.

You will learn:

- How to use the meter

- How to prick your finger to obtain a drop of blood

- What your target range is

- When to check your blood glucose

You may be asked to check your blood glucose:

- When you wake up

- Just before meals

- 2–3 hours after breakfast

- 2–3 hours after lunch

- 2–3 hours after dinner

Read more: 

Symptoms of diabetes  

The importance of managing your diabetes  

Causes of diabetes

Reviewed by Dr Hilton Kaplan, MB BCH (Rand), FCP(SA), MMed(UCT), Specialist Endocrinologist and Physician (March 2016)


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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