In most circumstances, you'll learn you have gestational diabetes as the result of routine screening during your pregnancy. If your blood sugar tests high, you'll likely be asked to come in for an appointment promptly. You'll also have more-frequent regular prenatal appointments to monitor the course of your pregnancy.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of pre-appointment restrictions. When you make your appointment, ask if you need to fast for blood work or do anything else to prepare for diagnostic tests.
- Write down symptoms you're having, including those that may seem unrelated to gestational diabetes. You may not have noticeable symptoms, but it's good to keep a log of anything unusual you notice.
- Write down key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs and vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
Questions to ask your doctor
Make a list of questions to help make the most of your time with your doctor. For gestational diabetes, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What can I do to help control my condition?
- Can you recommend a dietitian or diabetes educator who can help me plan meals, an exercise program, and coping strategies?
- What will determine whether I need medication to control my blood sugar?
- What symptoms should prompt me to seek medical attention?
- Are there brochures or other printed materials I can take? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is also likely to have questions for you, especially if you're seeing him or her for the first time. Your doctor may ask:
- Have you experienced increased thirst or excessive urination? If so, when did these symptoms start? How often do you have them?
- Have you noticed other unusual symptoms?
- Do you have a parent or sibling who's ever been diagnosed with diabetes?
- Have you been pregnant before? Did you have gestational diabetes during your previous pregnancies?
- Did you have other problems in earlier pregnancies?
- If you have other children, how much did each weigh at birth?
- Have you gained or lost a lot of weight at any time in your life?
What you can do in the meantime
You can take steps to control gestational diabetes as soon as you're diagnosed. If your doctor recommends further evaluation, make your follow-up appointments as soon as possible. Every week counts for you and your baby.
Follow your doctor's advice, and take good care of yourself. Eat healthy foods, exercise and learn as much as you can about gestational diabetes.
April 25, 2014
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- Gestational diabetes. American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/what-is-gestational-diabetes.html. Accessed Dec. 10, 2013.
- Coustan DR, et al. Medical management and follow-up of gestational diabetes mellitus. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 10, 2013.
- Gestational diabetes: A guide for pregnant women. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?productid=162&pageaction=displayproduct. Accessed Dec. 10, 2013.
- Greuter MJE, et al. Quality of guidelines in the management of diabetes in pregnancy: A systematic review. BioMed Central Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2012;12:58.
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- Coustan DR, et al. Screening and diagnosis of diabetes mellitus during pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 10, 2013.