Blog Post > News > Gestational Diabetes > Gestational Diabetes: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications – Verywell Health

Gestational Diabetes: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications – Verywell Health

Jaime Herndon is a freelance health/medical writer with over a decade of experience writing for the public.
Monique Rainford, MD, is board-certified in obstetrics-gynecology, and currently serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Medicine. She is the former chief of obstetrics-gynecology at Yale Health.
Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy in people who had not been diagnosed with diabetes before pregnancy. In gestational diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin to prevent high blood sugar (glucose) levels.
Typically, gestational diabetes develops midway through the 40-week gestational period, and often there are no symptoms. This is why people are screened for it between 24 and 28 weeks.
Read on for more information about what symptoms may look like when there are symptoms, complications that can occur with gestational diabetes, and when to call a healthcare provider.
LightFieldStudios / Getty Images
Many times, there are no symptoms of gestational diabetes. It’s often picked up when your maternity care provider does standard blood glucose screenings between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, which is why these tests are done for every pregnant person.
If you have symptoms, they’re often generalized and may seem like typical symptoms accompanying pregnancy. They may include:
Other symptoms may include blurry vision and weight loss.

Gestational diabetes can cause a variety of complications. Having gestational diabetes does not mean you will have these complications—these complications are also possible in people who don't have gestational diabetes. However, the risk is increased with this diagnosis.
Complications can include:
When you are pregnant, it is important to get prenatal care and screenings. Between 24 and 28 weeks, a healthcare provider will order a glucose tolerance test. This will tell the healthcare provider how your body utilizes glucose and whether you may have gestational diabetes.

If you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, check your blood sugar levels regularly, adhere to any nutritional plan your healthcare provider has given you, and stay physically active. If you are prescribed medication, be sure to use it as directed.
If you have symptoms of high blood pressure, such as vision changes, trouble catching your breath, sudden nausea or vomiting, increased swelling of your extremities, or severe headaches, call your healthcare provider immediately. If your glucose levels are excessively high, call your healthcare provider.
Always let your healthcare provider know about any new symptoms you’re experiencing. What might seem like a minor annoying symptom to you might be a sign of something serious, so it’s always good to report any changes.

Gestational diabetes often doesn’t have symptoms. The symptoms you may experience are very nonspecific. This is one reason universal screening is done for every pregnant person in the second half of pregnancy.
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you’ll monitor your blood sugar and adjust your diet and physical activity level. Sometimes you will be placed on medication. You may also be checked more frequently.

If you think you may be more at risk for gestational diabetes, talk with your healthcare provider. They may opt to check your glucose levels sooner or have you modify your diet or activity level to control your blood sugar, regardless of whether you have gestational diabetes yet.

Gestational diabetes occurs in 2% to 10% of pregnancies. Every pregnant person gets screened for gestational diabetes because the symptoms are typical of pregnancy and may be overlooked.
After you give birth, you should be tested for diabetes by 12 weeks postpartum at the latest. High blood sugar postpartum can indicate type 2 diabetes. Even if your blood sugar is normal, you should still be tested every one to three years for diabetes.
About 50% of people with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes at some point after giving birth.
Yes. In fact, that’s usually the case. Gestational diabetes often has no symptoms, and when there are symptoms, they tend to be nonspecific, like being thirstier than usual or urinating more frequently. Both of these aren’t uncommon during pregnancy in anyone, so these may not initially cause you to think there’s anything out of the ordinary.
Stanford Medicine. Gestational diabetes.
Johns EC, Denison FC, Norman JE, Reynolds RM. Gestational diabetes mellitus: mechanisms, treatment, and complications. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2018;29(11):743-754. doi:10.1016/j.tem.2018.09.004
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gestational diabetes.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. After your baby is born.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & causes of gestational diabetes.

Thank you, {{}}, for signing up.
There was an error. Please try again.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chat with us

Hi there! How can I help you?