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Support for gestational diabetes

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Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is diabetes diagnosed for the first-time during pregnancy. Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect a woman throughout pregnancy and could also affect the health of the baby.

Researchers don't yet fully understand why some women get gestational diabetes and others don’t, although excess weight before pregnancy is thought to be a causative factor. Hormones help to keep blood sugar levels in check, but during pregnancy hormone levels change, progesterone and oestrogen increase dramatically, and this makes it harder for the body to process sugar efficiently.

For most women, their blood sugar levels will return to normal by the time of their six-to-eight week postnatal check. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are likely to experience it again in future pregnancies and have a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is one of the strongest risk factors for the subsequent development of Type 2 diabetes: Up to 50% of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within 5 years of the birth.

Eating healthily and completing regular physical activity helps to not only lose any weight gained during pregnancy but can also lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme will help women who have had a diagnosis of gestational diabetes to achieve this.

About the programme

It is a free programme that provides participants with 13 friendly and supportive group-based sessions over nine months with a trained health coach. The sessions can be attended face-to-face at a local venue, on teams or via a digital app.

You will be able to self-refer whilst pregnant to be ready to start the programme after your pregnancy.

If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes during or immediately after pregnancy you will not be eligible for this programme but there are other programmes and support that you can access.

Resources

  • Caring for your diabetes after pregnancy

    Download
  • Maintaining a healthy diet

    Download
  • Managing your blood sugar levels

    Download
  • Physical activity and gestational diabetes

    Download

Sign-up using the self-referral form below.

This can be found on your NHS app

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