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Understanding gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs in women during pregnancy.


About 12–14% of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes, usually around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy.

Most women will no longer have diabetes after the baby is born. However, some women will continue to have high blood glucose levels after delivery.

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Glucose is an important source of energy for your body. It comes from carbohydrate foods that you eat, such as bread, pasta, rice, cereals, fruits, starchy vegetables, milk and yoghurt. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which then enters your bloodstream. Insulin is needed to allow glucose from the bloodstream to enter the body cells and be used for energy. Insulin is made in the body by your pancreas.

During pregnancy, some of the hormones produced by the placenta reduce the action of insulin.

The pancreas then needs to produce extra insulin to keep blood glucose levels in the normal range.

If the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, blood glucose levels rise and gestational diabetes develops. Managing gestational diabetes can help keep blood glucose levels in the target range for a healthy pregnancy.

Learn about 'Gestational diabetes':

  • Who is at risk of gestational diabetes?
  • How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?
  • Why is it important to manage gestational diabetes?
  • How is gestational diabetes managed?
  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity
  • Monitoring blood glucose levels
  • Medications
  • Pregnancy weight gain
  • Who can help with your gestational diabetes?
  • After your baby is born

Access this information sheet:

Download the PDF, or
Request the information sheet be sent out to you.


The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is an initiative of the Australian Government administered with the assistance of Diabetes Australia.