What is Gestational Diabetes (GDM)?

Gestational diabetes (or GDM) is something many women are most afraid of being diagnosed within their pregnancy. The condition occurs during pregnancy and is when your body can’t cope with the extra demand for insulin production, which results in high blood glucose levels. Traditionally, GDM was seen as a high-risk condition, with a reportedly increased risk of a poor outcome for the baby during labour or after birth.

Modern evidence does not support this, but GDM is now still important to diagnose for one main reason: by doing so, and instigating simple measures, you can avoid an increased risk of factors such as babies with a high birth weight and Caesarean section. With the right practices and guidance, a mother with GDM can be as low a risk as anyone without diabetes.

How can you manage gestational diabetes?

There are a few simple lifestyle choices that mothers can make to effectively manger gestational diabetes without too much trouble. Just like other diabetes conditions, there are three components that should be practiced: monitoring your blood glucose levels, adopting a healthy eating pattern and regular and safe physical activity. These simple steps will help with ensuring a safe pregnancy and a low-risk birth.

Debunking common GDM myths

I have spent a long time researching gestational diabetes, and was awarded the Luke Proposch Perinatal Research Scholarship for my work. In fact, my doctorate thesis was accepted by the University of Melbourne in 2017 on this very subject.

I strongly believe in debunking some of the myths and stigma associated with GDM. I do not recommend inductions of labour for the condition unless there is another reason to do so (for example, a pregnancy complication such as pre-eclampsia). The only exception is when blood sugar is very hard to control and even this is quite rare. For peace of mind, I spend a lot of time with my patients explaining my reasoning for this attitude and the evidence behind it. If you wish to learn more, I am always happy to speak with new patients.

GDM in the 21st century should be seen as a warning sign, but not a high-risk condition. As with any warning signs: if you do the right thing and make some simple changes under expert guidance, future risks can be minimised or avoided completely.

For more information, get in touch to organise a consultation.