Gestational diabetes is a major public health problem because of its prevalence, its associated complications during pregnancy, and its increased risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Insulin resistance is one of many physiological changes occurring during pregnancy, and when insulin resistance is accompanied by pancreatic beta-cell insufficiency, gestational diabetes may develop. Several lines of evidence suggest that gestational diabetes shares a common etiology with type 2 diabetes and support the hypothesis that gestational diabetes serves as a window to reveal a predisposition to type 2 diabetes. Pregnancy is an environmental stressor that may catalyze the progression to a diabetic state in genetically predisposed women; therefore, identification of these women during pregnancy could decrease the occurrence of type 2 diabetes through targeted prevention. This review presents an overview of the genetics of gestational diabetes, focusing on human association studies with candidate genes common to both type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.