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What should I do after my baby is born?

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Your health care provider will check your blood sugar level often, starting right after your baby is born. For most women, blood sugar levels go back to normal quickly after having their babies.

Six weeks 2 after your baby is born, you should have a blood test to find out whether your blood sugar level is back to normal. This test is similar to the one you took to find out whether or not you had gestational diabetes. Based on the results of the test, you will fall into one of three categories.

AFTER-PREGNANCY TEST CATEGORIES 2, 12

If your category is… You should…
Normal Get checked for diabetes every three years.
Impaired Glucose Tolerance Get checked for diabetes every year. Talk to your health care provider about ways to lower your risk level for diabetes.
Diabetic Work with your health care provider to set up a treatment plan for your diabetes.

The test also checks your risk for getting diabetes in the future. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 40 percent higher chance 2,3 than women who haven't had gestational diabetes of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Getting checked for diabetes is important because type 2 diabetes shows few symptoms. The only way to know for sure that you have type 2 diabetes is to have a blood test that reveals a higher-than-normal blood sugar level. You should also tell your health care provider right away if you notice any of these things:

  • Being very thirsty
  • Urinating often
  • Feeling constantly or overly tired
  • Losing weight quickly and/or without reason

Having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have diabetes, but your health care provider might want to test you to make sure. Detecting type 2 diabetes early can help you avoid problems, like early heart disease and damage to your eyes, kidneys, or nerves. If you choose to use birth control methods in the future, talk with your health care provider about a method that won't increase your risk of developing diabetes.

Can I breastfeed 2 even though I have gestational diabetes?

Like all mothers, women with gestational diabetes should breastfeed their babies, if possible. Breastfeeding provides a number of benefits for your baby, including the right balance of nutrients and protection against certain illnesses. Breastfeeding is also beneficial for mothers. It allows your body to use up some extra calories that were stored during pregnancy. Losing weight after having the baby enhances overall health and is one way to reduce your chances of developing diabetes later in life. Many women who have gestational diabetes also find that breastfeeding improves their fasting blood sugar level and allows them to maintain a lower average blood sugar level once their babies are born.

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Last Updated Date: 09/11/2006
Last Reviewed Date: 09/11/2006
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