What is the Treatment for Gestational Diabetes (Diabetes in Pregnancy)

The first line of treatment for control of gestational diabetes – GDM (Diabetes in Pregnancy) is lifestyle management.

It includes:

  • Medical nutrition therapy
  • Exercise
  • Weight management depending on prepregnancy weight.

Studies suggest that upto 70-85% of women with GDM can control GDM with lifestyle changes alone.

Treatment for Gestational Diabetes

Medical nutrition therapy (MNT)

Medical nutrition therapy is nothing but an individualized food plan supervised by a registered dietician.

  • It should provide adequate nutrients for a healthy pregnancy and proper weight gain and should achieve and maintain normal glucose levels.
  • It should take into account calorie intake, carbohydrate content in meals, and distribution of meals throughout the day.
  • A typical meal plan includes three small to moderately sized meals and 2-3 snacks.
  • In general, you should avoid simple sugars like sweets, starchy foods, potatoes, bread and baked products, and fatty foods.
  • The source of carbohydrates you eat should be from peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables.


Exercise like walking at a pace, arm exercises should be performed for 30 min daily for atleast five days in a week if there are no obstetric contraindications.

Weight management

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy should be avoided as it hampers the benefit of glucose control in pregnancy.

Moderate restriction of calories (1/3rd reduction) is appropriate for overweight and obese GDM women.

  • Self blood glucose monitoring should be done to evaluate the effectiveness of lifestyle management — Monitor glucose at fasting and 2hrs after meals.
  • If glucose control is not achieved through lifestyle modification, medications should be added.
  • Insulin is the drug of choice for treating high glucose levels in GDM as it does not cross the placenta.
  • Metformin and glyburide should not be used as first-line agents, as both crosses the placenta to the fetus.
+ References
Diabetes.co.in follows strict sourcing guidelines and uses only highly credible sources such as academic research institutions, peer-reviewed journals, and government medical associations. We do not use tertiary references. Read our editorial policy section to know more about how we ensure the accuracy of our content.
  1. American Diabetes Association - Diabetes Care 2020 Jan; 43 (Supplement 1): S183-S192. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc20-S014
  2. Ian Blumer, Eran Hadar, David R. Hadden, Lois Jovanovič, Jorge H. Mestman, M. Hassan Murad, Yariv Yogev, Diabetes and Pregnancy: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 98, Issue 11, 1 November 2013, Pages 4227–4249, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2013-2465

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