High blood sugar levels with colds and illnesses

When you are poorly with colds and illnesses or vomiting, you may notice a rise in blood sugar levels as your body fights to get better. The body releases extra glucose and having gestational diabetes means that you cannot create or use enough insulin to help normalise your blood sugar levels.


With higher blood sugar levels your body will cause more frequent urination to help flush out the excess glucose, this, in turn, can lead to dehydration. Make sure you increase fluid intake if you are poorly.

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and gestational diabetes

Much like a cold or another general illness, if you get Coronavirus then this can affect your blood sugar levels, with many people reporting higher than normal levels.

The NHS recommends the following if you get symptoms of COVID-19 and you are pregnant:

Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have a high temperature or feel unwell – take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

Speak to your midwife or maternity team – they will advise you what to do. You may need to rebook some of your pregnancy appointments or have them online, by phone or as a video consultation.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/pregnancy-and-coronavirus/Pregnancy and coronavirus (COVID-19)
[image credit: NHS]
[image credit: NHS]

How to try to make yourself feel better

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Try to eat little and often to maintain better blood sugar levels
  3. Frequently test blood sugar levels so that you can see what’s happening
  4. Take paracetamol (as advised on the pack) to bring down temperatures and give pain relief
  5. Try sugar-free throat lozenges for sore throats that are advised as safe for use in pregnancy
  6. Try applying Vicks Vaporub on your neck for sore throats, or on the soles of your feet with colds
  7. Try drinking hot water, lemon and fresh root ginger for colds and sore throats (AVOID honey)
  8. Have a warm, steamy shower or bath to clear your airways
  9. For help with advice when vomiting, take a look at our hyperemesis page.
  10. Consult a medical professional if you are concerned or if symptoms persist. If you cannot keep food down then you should contact your hospital

Diabetes and infections

Bacteria feed on increased glucose levels and the reduced function of neutrophils (white blood cells that attack infection) in the body mean that people with diabetes are more susceptible to infection. Gestational diabetes also increases the susceptibility to various types of infections. The most common infections are urinary tract, yeast infections such as thrush and skin infections.

If you suspect you may be suffering from any type of infection then please seek medical advice. In many cases, medication may be required to fight the infection. To help control infection, aim to keep blood sugar levels lowered and stable.

Avoid drinking cranberry juice as it contains high amounts of sugars which will exacerbate the infection. Instead, increase drinking water.


Infections in patients with diabetes mellitus: A review of pathogenesis

Neutrophil function and metabolism in individuals with diabetes mellitus

Diabetes causes marked changes in function and metabolism of rat neutrophils