Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women, usually during the second or third trimester of their pregnancy. These women are not diabetic prior to their pregnancy and it will then usually go away after giving birth – it is caused by the hormones produced during pregnancy, making it difficult for the body to use insulin properly.

The way it should work during pregnancy is that the mother’s body becomes more resistant to insulin, to allow extra glucose and nutrients to be diverted to the baby to aid its growth. To counter this the body should produce more insulin, however when gestational diabetes develops this prevents the body form producing the additional insulin needed to achieve normal function.

According to Diabetes UK compared to women without diabetes, women with diabetes are:

  • 5 times more likely to have a pre-term baby
  • 3 times more likely to have a Caesarean section delivery
  • 2 times as likely to have a baby weighing more that 4kg

Diabetes UK notes that 5% of the 956,861 pregnancies in the UK in 2015 involved diabetes and of these around 42,000 were from gestational diabetes. They advise that gestational diabetes is increasing due to levels of obesity and more pregnancies in older women.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of gestational diabetes are as follows:

  • Tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased thirst and dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Recurring infections

Failure to diagnose

Every pregnant woman with one or more of the following risk factors should be offered a screening test for gestational diabetes on the NHS at their first antenatal appointment:

  • Overweight
  • Over 25
  • Suffer from prediabetes
  • One or both parents have Type 2 Diabetes
  • African or South Asian descent
  • Previous birth of a large child

Furthermore, between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy a glucose tolerance test (GTT) should be performed to determine how the body is coping with the increased level of glucose present.

If your health professional either failed to provide you with these tests, or they were performed but nothing was flagged in the results, and you later developed gestational diabetes then the care received would be deemed to be substandard.

Potential complications

If not identified and managed correctly gestational diabetes can lead to a number of problems for both mother and baby, including (but limited to):

  • Premature birth
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Jaundice
  • Low blood sugar and increased chance of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.

How to start a claim

Our team at Royds Withy King has been developed with patients in mind and each member has a specialist knowledge of the condition of the diabetic individual and the problems gestational diabetes can cause when due care hasn’t been taken.  If you feel this has happened to you, our team can advise you on what to do next.

Of course, we recognise that money can never truly compensate you or your family for what you have gone through, but it can make a big difference. A compensation claim will take into account any loss of earnings or other financial expenses that you have incurred because of the negligence, and of particular relevance to a diabetic patient the costs of any future care required.

Call or email us and one of our specialists will be more than happy to discuss your situation and assess whether we are able to be of assistance to you.


Contact us to speak to a member of our specialist medical negligence team today.