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Gestational Diabetes (cont.)

What Increases Your Risk

You have an increased chance of developing gestational diabetes if:

  • You are 25 or older when you become pregnant.
  • You have had gestational diabetes before.
  • You have given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 lb (4 kg).
  • You weighed more than 9 lb (4 kg) when you were born.
  • You have a parent or sibling who has type 2 diabetes.
  • You are not physically active before pregnancy.
  • You are obese (your body mass index[BMI] is 30 or higher).
  • You are a member of a racial group or ethnic group that has a high risk of diabetes, such as Latin Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, or Pacific Islanders.
  • You have polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • You have a dark skin rash called acanthosis nigricans on the back of your neck or in folds on your body.
  • You take corticosteroid medicine.
  • You have a history of prediabetes.
  • You have a history of problems during pregnancy.

When to Call a Doctor

Call or other emergency services right away if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness) or you suddenly become very sleepy or confused. You may have low blood sugar.
  • You are sleepy, confused, or breathing very fast, or if your breath smells fruity. You may have very high blood sugar.

Call a doctor right away if:

  • Your blood sugar is 300 mg/dL or higher (or it is higher than the level your doctor has set for you).

Call a doctor if you:

  • Are sick and having trouble controlling your blood sugar.
  • Have had vomiting or diarrhea for more than 6 hours.
  • Often have problems with high or low blood sugar levels.
  • Have trouble knowing when your blood sugar is low.
  • Have questions or want to know more about gestational diabetes.

For information about when to call your doctor for other pregnancy-related issues, see the topic Pregnancy.

Who to see

Health professionals who can diagnose and treat gestational diabetes include:

After you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you may be referred to other health professionals who can help you understand what gestational diabetes means. These may include:

  • A certified diabetes educator (CDE). A CDE is a registered nurse, registered dietitian, doctor, pharmacist, or other health professional who has training and experience in caring for people who have diabetes. A CDE can help you understand how to take care of yourself and help you adjust to living with gestational diabetes.
  • A registered dietitian. All women who have gestational diabetes need to see a registered dietitian for help choosing the best foods. Follow-up visits with a dietitian are helpful if you need to change your eating habits.
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