9 Signs of Gestational Diabetes to Monitor During Pregnancy

Updated in February 2023

Signs of gestational diabetes may include excessive weight gain, increased appetite, fatigue, blurry vision, urinary frequency, dry mouth and nausea. However, most cases are not associated with any symptoms. Many women only know they have gestational diabetes after completing routine blood tests. 

Therefore, it is important for pregnant women to complete all prenatal consults as directed by their OBGYN. A routine screening in the second or third trimester can identify this condition and prompt treatment to prevent complications.

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Gestational diabetes symptoms

The main signs and symptoms of gestation diabetes are: 

  1. Excessive weight gain in the mother or baby 
  2. Exaggerated increase in appetite 
  3. Excessive fatigue 
  4. Urinary frequency 
  5. Blurry vision 
  6. Increased thirst 
  7. Dry mouth 
  8. Nausea
  9. Frequent bladder, vaginal or skin infections

Not all pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes. It is more common in women with a history of diabetes, obesity, medication use with hypoglycemics or hypertension.

Confirming a diagnosis

A gestational diabetes diagnosis is confirmed through a blood test, which looks at the amount of glucose circulating in the blood. This  blood test should be done when fasting. Even though women may not present with any signs or symptoms, the doctor will usually order this test as a screening precaution.  

In addition to the fasting glucose test, the doctor may also order the GOTT (glucose oral tolerance test). This test measures the body’s response to high amounts of sugar. 

How gestational diabetes is treated

Normally, gestational diabetes is treated with lifestyle changes, like diet adjustments and regular exercise. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe oral hypoglycemic medication or insulin if glucose levels are difficult to control. It is important for the diagnosis and treatment of gestational diabetes to be prompt and without delays to decrease the risk for complications in the mother and baby. 

A great snack example for women with gestational diabetes includes an apple with a few whole grain crackers. This combinations has a low glycemic index, which prevent sugar spikes. Women are encouraged to see a registered dietitian for a more customized, thorough gestational diabetes meal plan.