May 19, 2003
Question from Merritt Island, Florida, USA:
Doctors and books say that if someone had gestational diabetes it should go away after birth, and that person should never have to use insulin again. However, the other day my husband informed me that the daughter of one of his clients had the same problem but never recovered after birth and had to use insulin from there on. Is this correct? What is the percentage of women who had gestational diabetes requiring insulin during pregnancy and had to continue with it?
Almost all women who develop gestational diabetes will not require any specific glucose management after delivery even if they were using insulin. However, about 30% will develop overt diabetes later in life. It may take several years for this to happen and is dependent on multiple factors such as body weight, activity and diet. If a mother has persistent hyperglycemia after pregnancy, then I would be suspicious for pre-existing diabetes. I always recommend a repeat glucose test around the time of the postpartum visit for women who had gestational diabetes.