Gestational Diabetes and Hydration


Your body goes through many changes while pregnant to help with accommodating and growing the baby; this includes hormonal changes which may cause conditions such as gestational diabetes to occur. This article goes over what gestational diabetes is, its symptoms and the best way to manage it. Gestational diabetes briefly is a condition that occurs during pregnancy and can cause negative effects for both the mother and child. 

The condition of gestational diabetes is similar to regular diabetes, leading to hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) which can cause issues such as tiredness and dry mouth. In this article, the importance of staying hydrated, how this can help with the condition, and how often you should be drinking as well as what to avoid if you have this condition are discussed. 

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as diabetes that has been diagnosed during pregnancy but can not be clearly said to be overt diabetes.1 It is connected to certain negative pregnancy outcomes like stillbirths, issues in newborns' ability to digest foods and related issues.2 It can develop in women who have no past diagnosis of diabetes and is caused by your body not being able to create enough of a hormone called insulin during your pregnancy.3 

Insulin is made by the pancreas in our bodies which does a variety of useful things like helping us digest food, but one of its most important functions is controlling our blood sugar levels.4 This is important as insulin allows blood sugar to enter the cells in our bodies and be converted to energy for them. 

During pregnancy, your body goes through changes such as gaining weight and increasing the number of hormones made; the changes lessen your body’s ability to make the best use of insulin, leading to resistance to the hormone. While all women in the later stages of their pregnancy will experience some insulin resistance, some experience it before, which increases their risk of getting gestational diabetes.3


Typically gestational diabetes does not cause clear symptoms; the majority of cases are only diagnosed during screenings for the condition when the sugar levels in the blood are tested. The lack of symptoms shown means it is important to go for a test if you may be at high risk (e.g. you already have diabetes, higher blood pressure or a family history of diabetes).5 

There are symptoms that can occur when the levels of sugar in the blood become too high (this is known as hyperglycaemia).6 These symptoms usually include: 

  • An increase in thirst
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Tiredness 
  • Urinating more than usual
  • Blurry vision

Some of these symptoms can also be normal during pregnancy and are not indicative of gestational diabetes. The best option is usually to speak to a health professional about the symptoms being experienced if they cause concern. 

Water is the drink of choice recommended when dealing with gestational diabetes

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is best to avoid fizzy drinks (cokes, sprites, etc), sweet teas, sports drinks (Lucozade/red bull), milkshakes and other beverages, which have sugars added to them as they can increase the levels of sugar within your blood. These drinks are also known as diuretics, meaning they cause you to urinate more often which leads to a loss of water.

It is best to drink water due to its lack of carbohydrates and sugars and its increasing effect on blood volume. This increase in your blood volume leads to a decrease in glucose (a sugar) concentration, which manages your blood sugar levels. However, other drinks, such as low-fat milk are fine.7 Sugar-free squash (according to the labels) and water with lemon/lime added to it are also fine to drink.  

Can water treat gestational diabetes?

Water is unlikely to treat the condition but likely will help manage some of its symptoms.8 Hydration is recommended in general during pregnancy to aid with digestion and disposal of toxins/wastes.9 

How much water should you drink? Specifically with gestational diabetes: it is best to drink 2-3 litres or 10-12 glasses per day. It's also recommended that you increase this amount during hotter weather or if you decide to exercise, and it’s best to have the water with all your meals/snacks and between them throughout your day.10  


In conclusion, gestational diabetes can affect you during your pregnancy, especially if you have some of the risk factors mentioned, such as a family history of diabetes. The condition can be caused by insulin within your body not being able to function as it should. 

This impacts blood sugar levels, which if not regulated can cause issues within the pregnancy, such as the baby having more growth than usual. The best way to manage the condition is to drink water and stay hydrated to decrease the amount of sugar in the blood. This isn’t able to fully treat the condition but can help. If you have more questions or are unsure if you have the condition due to its lack of symptoms, it’s best to book a test with your healthcare provider.                  


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  7. 9 gestational diabetes dos and don’ts [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from:
  8. Singh A. As water contains no carbohydrate or calories, it is the perfect drink for people with diabetes. Studies have also shown that drinking water could help control blood glucose levels. [Internet]. Diabetes. 2019 [cited 2022 Oct 21]. Available from:
  9. Cruz L. How hydration during pregnancy can benefit you and your baby [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 21]. Available from:
  10. Paterson J. Drinks • gestational diabetes uk [Internet]. Gestational Diabetes UK. 2015 [cited 2022 Oct 21]. Available from: presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
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