Gestational diabetes insipidus: Diagnosis and management

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Sep;34(5):101384. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2020.101384. Epub 2020 Feb 27.


In the pregnant patient, hypotonic polyuria in the setting of elevated serum osmolality and polydipsia should narrow the differential to causes related to diabetes insipidus (DI). Gestational DI, also called transient DI of pregnancy, is a distinct entity, unique from central DI or nephrogenic DI which may both become exacerbated during pregnancy. These three different processes relate to vasopressin, where increased metabolism, decreased production or altered renal sensitivity to this neuropeptide should be considered. Gestational DI involves progressively rising levels of placental vasopressinase throughout pregnancy, resulting in decreased endogenous vasopressin and resulting hypotonic polyuria worsening through the pregnancy. Gestational DI should be distinguished from central and nephrogenic DI that may be seen during pregnancy through use of clinical history, urine and serum osmolality measurements, response to desmopressin and potentially, the newer, emerging copeptin measurement. This review focuses on a brief overview of osmoregulatory and vasopressin physiology in pregnancy and how this relates to the clinical presentation, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of gestational DI, with comparisons to the other forms of DI during pregnancy. Differentiating the subtypes of DI during pregnancy is critical in order to provide optimal management of DI in pregnancy and avoid dehydration and hypernatremia in this vulnerable population.

Keywords: dDAVP; gestational diabetes insipidus; hypotonic polyuria; transient diabetes insipidus of pregnancy; vasopressin (AVP).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dehydration / complications
  • Dehydration / diagnosis
  • Dehydration / physiopathology
  • Dehydration / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Insipidus / diagnosis*
  • Diabetes Insipidus / etiology
  • Diabetes Insipidus / therapy*
  • Diabetes Insipidus, Nephrogenic / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Insipidus, Nephrogenic / etiology
  • Diabetes Insipidus, Nephrogenic / therapy
  • Diabetes Insipidus, Neurogenic / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Insipidus, Neurogenic / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypernatremia / diagnosis
  • Hypernatremia / etiology
  • Hypernatremia / therapy
  • Neurophysins / physiology
  • Neurophysins / therapeutic use
  • Osmoregulation / physiology
  • Polydipsia / blood
  • Polydipsia / diagnosis
  • Polydipsia / therapy
  • Polyuria / blood
  • Polyuria / diagnosis
  • Polyuria / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Protein Precursors / physiology
  • Protein Precursors / therapeutic use
  • Vasopressins / physiology
  • Vasopressins / therapeutic use
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology


  • AVP protein, human
  • Neurophysins
  • Protein Precursors
  • Vasopressins

Supplementary concepts

  • Gestational Diabetes Insipidus