Testing for Type 2 Diabetes after Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM)
Every year between 3% to 20% of pregnant women across Canada develop gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), depending on risk factors. GDM is a temporary form of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. Once she has her newborn in arms, a new mother may be relieved to leave behind the rigour of the GDM clinic. Although GDM may be gone, in order to protect mothers, GDM cannot be forgotten.
GDM increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
After having GDM, as many as 30% of women will develop diabetes within 15 years. Therefore, regular and timely screening for type 2 diabetes is essential for women who have had GDM.
Why is screening after GDM so important?
- Undiagnosed diabetes in a future pregnancy significantly increases the chance of having a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or a baby with a malformation.
- Undiagnosed type 2 diabetes over the long term can have serious consequences, including increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
Women who have had GDM need to be tested for type 2 diabetes:
- 6 weeks to 6 months after giving birth, with a two-hour 75g oral glucose tolerance test
- when planning another pregnancy
- every 3 years (or more often depending on other risk factors for diabetes)
As you take your baby in your arms, take your health in your hands.
Talk to your healthcare provider and be sure you receive regular testing for type 2 diabetes. The Canadian Diabetes Association has developed a handy guide to remind you of the importance of screening and diagnosis of type 2 diabetes after GDM, as well as what to expect with this test. To download this reminder, click on the links below.
Gestational diabetes fact sheet
Le diabète gestationnel
Guide for a healthy lifestyle after gestational diabetes
Guide pour un mode de vie sain après le diabète gestationnel (DG)
Type 2 Diabetes: The basics
L’essentiel sur le diabète de type 2