If healthy food choices and physical activity do not keep your blood glucose in a healthy range when you have gestational diabetes, your healthcare provider may prescribe insulin to help manage gestational diabetes.
It may help you to understand how insulin works.
Diabetes affects the way your body uses the food you eat. Most of the food you eat changes to glucose, a form of sugar. Glucose enters the bloodstream causing your blood glucose level to rise.
As your blood glucose rises, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin works like a key to open the cells and let glucose enter. The glucose is used for energy now or stored for later use.
In any pregnancy, as your baby grows and develops, more and more insulin is needed to move that glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells. But in a pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes, your body does not produce enough extra insulin, or your cells resist the insulin. This is called insulin resistance.
That’s why your diabetes care team may prescribe insulin. Insulin injections will give your body the extra insulin you need to help move glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells for energy.
If you do take insulin it is very important to take it exactly as prescribed. Insulin will not hurt your baby.
Your diabetes care team will help you learn about insulin and how to inject it.
Be aware, if you take insulin, you are at risk for hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose. Talk to your diabetes care team about hypoglycemia and how to treat it.
Even if you take insulin, you still need to make healthy food choices, increase your physical activity and check your blood glucose to see how well all of the parts of your management plan are working together for you and your baby.
Reviewed by Jennifer Lincoln, March 2020