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We know that managing diabetes during pregnancy can be tough. It's a time of great physical and emotional change. This information is designed for HCP to help diabetes patients address their concerns by explaining symptoms they may encounter, in a clear and concise way.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)

Firstly, take comfort in knowing that Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is fully treatable, but requires careful medical supervision throughout the pregnancy. It occurs in about 2–5 percent of all pregnancies and may improve or disappear after delivery.

GDM is a form of glucose intolerance diagnosed during pregnancy. It is formally defined as 'any degree of glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy'. This definition acknowledges the possibility that patients may have previously undiagnosed diabetes mellitus, or may have developed diabetes coincidentally with pregnancy. Whether symptoms subside after pregnancy is also irrelevant to the diagnosis1.

Gestational diabetes resembles Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in several respects - involving a combination of relatively inadequate insulin secretion and responsiveness. Findings, regarding the risk of development of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus after GDM, vary. In some studies it was found that the risk increases with time from postpartum. The cumulative probability of developing diabetes within 1 year was 1.7% and 15 years 25.8%2. Other studies reported that cumulative incidence increased markedly in the first 5 years after delivery - but then reached a plateau after 10 years3. In any case, gestational diabetes is closely related with a high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus later in life.

Children of women with Gestational diabetes are at risk to develop type 2 diabetes mellitus4.


1American Diabetes Association. Gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(Suppl 1):S88–90.

2Lee AJ, Hiscock RJ, Wein P, Walker SP, Permezel M. Gestational diabetes mellitus: clinical predictors and long-term risk of developing type 2 diabetes: a retrospective cohort study using survival analysis. Diabetes Care. 2007;30(4):878–83.

3Kim C, Newton KM, Knopp RH. Gestational diabetes and the incidence of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review. Diabetes Care. 2002;25:1862–8.

4Boney CM, Verma A, Tucker R, Vohr BR. Metabolic syndrome in childhood: association with birth weight, maternal obesity, and gestational diabetes mellitus. Pediatrics. 2005;115(3):e290–6.