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Gestational diabetes: make sure you get the support you need

Gestational diabetes: make sure you get the support you need

Posted on November 12, 2018, by Julie Hatton

On World Diabetes Day (14th November 2018), Julie Hatton of Coodes Solicitors encourages mums-to-be to do their research and ensure they understand how to manage gestational diabetes.

According to the latest figures, more than 425 million people around the world are currently living with diabetes and half of those remain undiagnosed. Thanks to awareness-raising events and better public health information, we are starting to become more familiar with the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the symptoms of both diseases. However, as we know through our work at Coodes, sadly diabetes is sometimes misdiagnosed or missed altogether.

Gestational diabetes occurs in some pregnancies and if it is not managed it can cause complications, which can sadly sometimes be very serious. Here at Coodes, we have worked on cases in which gestational diabetes has been missed by medical professionals.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that is caused by not producing enough insulin to meet the additional demands placed on the body during pregnancy. In most cases, it goes away after the baby is born, though is likely to reoccur in subsequent pregnancies.

A study published in 2010 revealed that twice as many women as previously thought develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Figures now suggest that 16 per cent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes. Given that around one in six women will develop gestational diabetes, it is important for anyone who is pregnant to ensure they have some understanding of the condition and how it should be managed.

Will I be tested for gestational diabetes?

The NHS offers a glucose test to women who are considered to be at risk of developing gestational diabetes. This is usually carried out between 24 and 28 weeks into the pregnancy, because gestational diabetes usually begins during the second or third trimester.

What if I develop gestational diabetes?

Being told you have gestational diabetes can be scary. However, most women with gestational diabetes have otherwise normal pregnancies and go onto have a healthy baby. The key is to manage it properly, which is something your midwife should support you through.

Diabetes UK has some excellent information and advice, as well as the following checklist for women who have gestational diabetes.

To make sure you get the right care and information, ensure you:

  • Understand gestational diabetes and how it is treated
  • Ask for a blood glucose meter and agree your individual targets
  • Have a Maternity Exemption Certificate or Card, which will entitle you to free prescriptions (ask your GP or diabetes healthcare team)
  • Know the members of your healthcare team and what they do to help you
  • Ask to see a dietitian to talk about your diet and physical activity
  • Know who to call if you need extra support
  • Understand how to treat a hypo and a hyper.

In most cases, gestational diabetes is well managed and pregnancies will progress well and result in a healthy baby and mum. However, having a good basic understanding of the condition and knowing what support should be given will empower you to speak out if you do not feel you are getting the help you need.

Julie Hatton is a chartered Legal Executive in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team at Coodes Solicitors. She is also a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Specialist Accreditation Scheme. She can be contacted on 01326 214036 or

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