Nurse examining a pregnant patient's blood glucose

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr TAN Shu Qi Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital


Don’t worry excessively if you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes. You can keep it under control so you can enjoy a healthy pregnancy and baby. Here’s what you need to know about managing gestational diabetes mellitus, or GDM, and how your baby will fare if you’re diagnosed:

Will Gestational Diabetes Pose a Risk to Baby?

Young baby wrapped in a tower after a bath

GDM can increase the risks of your baby developing these conditions:

  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Health problems such as breathing difficulties, low blood sugar or low calcium levels
  • Becoming overweight and large. When your baby weighs more than four kilograms, it is a condition known as macrosomia. This is heavier than most newborns and may result in a longer and more difficult delivery, if not a Caesarean section. If your baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal, it will be considered an obstetric emergency and the delivery method may result in injury to your baby
  • Jaundice after birth
  • Sudden foetal death
  • Diabetes later in life

Related: 5 Things to Know About Gestational Diabetes

What Can You Do to Manage GDM and Keep Your Baby Safe?

Pregnant woman stretching in her living room

Just because you have GDM doesn’t mean that your pregnancy will have complications. GDM is temporary and often resolves after childbirth. You can protect your baby too by taking these active steps to manage your gestational diabetes:

  • Monitor your blood glucose levels to ensure they’re not out of control
  • Reduce your intake of sugary and fattenings foods as these may cause excessive weight gain and increase blood sugar levels
  • While you need to cut out unhealthy and sugary foods, this is not the time to diet and lose weight. Your baby needs proper nutrition to reach the developmental milestones too. Eat a balanced diet and check with your doctor or nutritionist about healthy meal plans
  • Do not skip meals, especially breakfast. Having regular meals will keep your glucose levels stable
  • Exercise regularly to burn off glucose and keep your blood sugar levels in check
  • Stick to your regular check-ups to the doctor and follow your doctor’s recommendations. Take your medication regularly if it’s prescribed by your doctor

Related: Nutrition During Pregnancy—Eating Right for Two

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References

  1. Tan, T., Tan, K., Tan, H., & Tee, J. C. (2008). The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth.. New Jersey: World Scientific.

  2. Health Promotion Board. (2013). Healthy Start for your Pregnancy. Singapore: Health Promotion Board.