Gestational diabetes basics

Gestational diabetes, also called gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM, is a condition in which your body becomes intolerant to glucose (sugar) during pregnancy. It is similar to type 2 diabetes, except that it begins during pregnancy and usually goes away after you give birth. In order to support your informed choice discussion with your midwife, this website uses visual tools to explain important concepts related to gestational diabetes.

What is gestational diabetes?

Like type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes develops when your body cannot produce enough insulin, an important chemical made in your pancreas. It is not completely understood why some women develop gestational diabetes, but the reason it happens during pregnancy has to do with the hormones produced by the placenta.

Explain the science of gestational diabetes.
What are the risks?

About 6.5% of Canadian women who are tested are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, but your own risk level may be higher or lower, depending on several factors. There are some additional risks associated with gestational diabetes, including later development of type 2 diabetes.

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What are my options?

Between 24 and 28 weeks, your midwife will offer you an optional screening to find out if you might have gestational diabetes. In order to make an informed decision, you may want to read about what is involved in the different options, including testing procedures and what to do next if you find out you have gestational diabetes.

Break down the options for me.
Explain the science of
gestational diabetes.
Tell me more about
the risks.
Break down the options
for me.