Is Gestational Diabetes Bad?- Reframing for Best Outcomes

women with gestational diabetes checking her blood sugars to see complications of gestational diabetes

Receiving a diagnosis of gestational diabetes can feel scary.  Emotions like fear and guilt often accompany this news for many women. A common reaction for many women is to jump to Google to read about gestational diabetes to ease their anxiety. In this blog, we will settle your nerves and answer the question, “Is gestational diabetes bad?” and reviewing the complications.

The Complications of Untreated Gestational Diabetes

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand that getting the diagnosis doesn’t automatically mean “gestational diabetes is bad.”  However, what makes it concerning are the potential complications that can arise if left untreated or poorly managed.

Your doctors should be helping you navigate and manage this. If not, you have me, whether it’s free resources on my blogs and Instagram or pain services like my Master Course, which has EVERYTHING YOU NEED, plus 30 days of coaching with me. You got this. You’re not alone!

Now, back to “Is Gestational Diabetes Bad?”

One of the most significant risks associated with untreated, gestational diabetes is the increased likelihood of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. When blood sugar levels are not properly controlled, the risks for both the mother and the baby rise significantly. Let’s delve into some of these risks:

  • Abnormal Pregnancy: Keeping blood sugar levels in check is crucial because it reduces the risk of complications during pregnancy. Uncontrolled Gestational diabetes can lead to complications that may affect the overall health of the pregnancy, such as increased risk for preeclampsia and fetal demise.
  • Baby’s Risk of Diabetes: Babies born to mothers with untreated gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing diabetes later in life. 
  • Hypoglycemia During Delivery: Babies exposed to excess sugar in the womb often produce extra insulin to compensate. However, once they are born, their supply of sugar from the mother abruptly stops, potentially causing their blood sugar levels to drop too low. This can be dangerous for the newborn and requires close monitoring.
  • Risk of Obesity: Poorly controlled gestational diabetes can lead to larger-than-average babies. These infants often accumulate excess fat, especially around their midsection, leading to a higher risk of obesity later in life.
  • Difficult Delivery: Large babies can present difficulties during delivery, as their size may surpass the capacity of the birth canal. This situation can result in nerve damage for both the baby and the mother, necessitating interventions like C-sections or inductions.

Is Gestational Diabetes Bad?

If left untreated, yes. The fact you’re reading this blog alone means you are proactive in you and your baby’s health and it WILL NOT be left untreated. 

When gestational diabetes is treated and you work with your providers to monitor all numbers closely and make lifestyle adjustments according like I use in my gestational diabetes course and coach with a 4 pillar approach. Then no, gestational diabetes isn’t bad.

Benefits of Gestational Diabetes

  1. You have access to a nutrition and diabetes professional weekly to fine-tune your diet and lifestyle. These changes are LIFE-CHANGING if you choose to incorporate them life-long. You basically have a life coach for your pregnancy. I’ve had many women make life-long positive changes after their gestational diabetes pregnancy.
  2. Many women find they don’t gain as much weight if starting overweight or obese during their pregnancy while following the gestational diabetes diet.
  3. By checking your blood sugars during pregnancy, it gives you a sneak peek at what food your body doesn’t metabolize well which may help you lose weight postpartum if you avoid it.
  4. You get more ultrasounds, meaning you see the baby more often.
  5. Depending on your blood sugar control and your doctor, you may be able to go on maternity leave early if medically indicated. 

In Conclusion

While the diagnosis of gestational diabetes may initially bring about feelings of fear and uncertainty, it’s crucial to remember that with proper management and medical guidance, the risks associated with gestational diabetes can be significantly reduced.

If you need help check out my gestation diabetes course with coaching and all my blogs.

You got this.

All information from this blog is from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist. Be sure to talk to your doctor for personal medical advice.

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Ginger Cochran is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator & Care Specialist, Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist, and owner of Nutritious Ginger, an integrative and functional nutrition practice focusing on full body self-care and nourishment. Ginger’s primary specialty is women’s health, with a special emphasis on gestational diabetes, weight management, infertility, digestive wellness, and overall health + happiness.
Ginger serves on the board of director for the Nutrition Care Manual by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.