Staying on top of your and your baby’s health when you are pregnant is important. One way of doing this is to get checked for diabetes that can arise during pregnancy. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most health plans must offer this key screening at no cost to you.

A Common Health Issue

About 17 percent of women develop diabetes when they are pregnant. Called gestational diabetes, the condition can boost the odds for problems for both mom and baby. For women with the condition, there is a higher risk for complications during delivery. There is also a greater chance of developing diabetes later in life. Babies can grow too big during the pregnancy and are more likely to become obese as kids.

The good news is that there are ways to treat the condition, including diet, exercise, and medicine. But first you need to know if you have it.

Screening for Diabetes During Pregnancy

To help ensure that all pregnant women are screened, the ACA requires that most health plans offer testing for gestational diabetes at no cost for:

  • All pregnant women between 24 and 28 weeks gestation
  • Women at high risk for the condition earlier in their pregnancy

Screening involves drinking a sugar solution and then having your blood drawn to see how your body handles the sugar.

More Services for a Healthy Pregnancy

Other preventive and screening services that the ACA makes available at no cost during pregnancy include:

  • Checking for anemia (or low red blood cell count)
  • Testing for urinary tract or other infection
  • Screening for certain viruses, including hepatitis B and syphilis
  • Checking to see if your and your baby’s blood types match
  • Providing extra help to quit smoking
  • Providing breast-feeding support

Talk with your obstetrician or midwife to find out if you are at risk for gestational diabetes, and ask about the best time for you to be screened. To learn more about preventive care services that help you avoid illness and improve your health under the ACA, visit