Nutrition · Pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes: Why is my sugar high during pregnancy?

Pregnant person cutting up fruits and vegetable.

“At my last prenatal appointment I was told that I have high sugars, but why?  I don’t eat a lot of sweets.”  As a registered dietitian working with pregnant clients, this is a common question I am asked.  I’m sure many of you are wondering the same thing.

So… why are my sugars high?

Let me explain:

When you are pregnant, your hormone levels are high, in order to help your baby grow and develop.  Sometimes the high level of hormones makes insulin not work well.  Insulin is a hormone that helps to keep your blood sugar levels from getting too high. When your body cannot produce enough insulin for you and your growing baby, your blood sugar starts to rise.  A doctor may tell you that you have gestational diabetes.

What does gestational diabetes mean for me?

Your health care provider will refer you to a Diabetes Education Clinic (DEC) where you will see an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in blood sugars.  You will also see a nurse and a dietitian, who lead a class where you will learn more about diabetes.  You may receive a meal plan from the dietitian with suggestions on how to eat.  The nurse will teach you how to check your blood sugars.

Remember:  It is possible to control your blood sugars in pregnancy with food alone.

What happens after pregnancy?

After pregnancy, your blood sugars usually go back to a healthy level at about six weeks or so after pregnancy.  However, you will be at increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes. You will have your blood sugars checked between six weeks to six months after pregnancy.

Your doctor, nurse, and dietitian will give you more information on how to keep your blood sugars at a healthy level, how to eat well and exercise, so that you can decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes.

 Talk to your dietitian to learn more about eating well with gestational diabetes.

Have more questions on having high sugars in pregnancy? Connect on e-chat or call 416-338-7600 to speak directly with a health professional.


Leave a Reply