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Online education for diabetes in pregnancy (gestational diabetes)

You're viewing this page because you've recently been diagnosed with gestational diabetes following a positive glucose tolerance test or blood glucose monitoring at home for one week. Or you may be pregnant and have prediabetes, diagnosed by checking your HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin) via a blood test.

Gestational diabetes is more fully known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Your LMC (midwife) or diabetes midwife has sent a prescription for a glucose meter (CareSens N), a lancet (finger pricking device) and a three-month supply of testing strips to your chosen pharmacy.

To help you manage your gestational diabetes, there are three videos to watch:

Please watch all three videos. Once you've tested your blood glucose levels and recorded your food intake for a week, please email your results to the Diabetes in Pregnancy team via the email address you received from us. Include your name and NHI number in the email so we can identify you.

One of the diabetes dietitians will call you the following week to discuss your food intake, blood glucose levels and tell you about the plan for your diabetes management.


Diabetes is a condition where glucose (sugar) levels in the blood remain too high for too long. Glucose enters the bloodstream after we eat foods that contain carbohydrates and is released from the liver during times of fasting.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes can occur in late pregnancy, when changing hormone levels increase the body's requirements for insulin.

With gestational diabetes, your pancreas can't produce enough extra insulin to maintain your blood glucose level within the normal range for pregnancy.

The main treatment for gestational diabetes is eating well and keeping active. But you might also need tablets or injected insulin.

See the following video, What is gestational diabetes (5 min 43 sec).

The effect of gestational diabetes on your baby

If your blood glucose is high during pregnancy, there are increased risks for your baby. These include:

The effect of gestational diabetes on you

Having gestational diabetes means that you and your baby have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Your family should continue the healthy eating and other lifestyle changes suggested to you in pregnancy so you can work together towards a healthy future.

Treating gestational diabetes

The main ways to treat gestational diabetes are:

Eating well with gestational diabetes

The most important part of treating gestational diabetes is eating the right amount of healthy food and being active.

You and your baby need a balanced diet. If you restrict carbohydrate-rich foods (such as bread, rice, pasta, fruit, flour and cereal) too much, this may affect both of you.

It's important to achieve a healthy level of glucose in your blood for your baby.

If you can't achieve this with eating well and staying active, injected insulin or metformin tablets (or both) can help you reach your target.

See the following video, Dietary management of gestational diabetes (21 min 4 sec).

Testing your blood glucose level

Your diabetes specialist will help you select the best treatment option for you and your baby.

We would like you to start testing and recording your blood glucose levels if you feel comfortable with this. We will then regularly review the readings from your glucose meter and food intake and can do this via email.

See the following video, Blood glucose testing (21 min 50 sec).

The video shows you how to test your blood glucose levels and use your meter (CareSens N).

Please test your blood glucose (sugar) levels four times a day.

Tip: It can be difficult to remember to test after meals, so set an alarm on your phone when you sit down to eat.

Expected blood glucose levels

Your ideal blood glucose levels are:

Contacting the Diabetes in Pregnancy team

You can contact the Diabetes in Pregnancy team through our contact details which you can find in the email you received after your diagnosis.

Written by dietitian, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created April 2022.

Page reference: 963751

Review key: HIHCP-311277