Can Gestational Diabetes Be Prevented
Its not possible to prevent gestational diabetes entirely. However, adopting health-promoting habits can help reduce your chances of developing the condition.
If youre planning to become pregnant in the near future and youre overweight, consider preparing for your pregnancy by talking with a healthcare professional about ways to safely lose excess weight.
They can help you create a plan to reach and maintain a moderate weight. Even losing a small amount of weight can help you reduce your risk of gestational diabetes.
Furthermore, its important for pregnant people to seek prenatal care and follow all doctor-recommended visits to receive the appropriate screenings and evaluations during their pregnancies.
How Is Gestational Diabetes Treated
For many women with gestational diabetes, eating a healthy diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and getting regular exercise may be enough to lower blood glucose levels. However, some women may need diabetes medications. Diet control, regular exercise and/or diabetes medications such as insulin injections throughout the rest of the pregnancy may be required to bring and keep glucose levels to within normal levels.
How Much Carbohydrate Should I Eat To Control Blood Sugar
This is going to be very individual. Things like height and weight, carbohydrate tolerance, activity level, whether you are carrying multiples and countless other factors can affect how much carbohydrate you will want to intake.
As a general rule, most pregnant women with gestational diabetes can tolerate somewhere between 100-200 grams of carbohydrates daily. Some organizations will suggest 175 grams of carbohydrate as a minimum for pregnant women. This is not something I agree with.
Often times women will continue to experience elevated blood sugars eating 175 grams of carbohydrate or higher. In this case, I would recommend lowering carbohydrate by 15 grams per day until you can achieve desired blood sugar goals.
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Diagnosing And Treating Gestational Diabetes
Your doctor will ask you to schedule a glucose challenge test around 24 or 28 weeks of pregnancy. During your appointment, youll drink a glucose solution and be asked to wait one hour in the office. After one hour, you will have a blood sugar test. Your doctor will let you know if results are abnormal and if another test is needed.
The follow-up test, a glucose tolerance test, is also given in your doctors office. Youll need to fast overnight. Then, arriving in your doctors office you will have your blood drawn. After the first blood test, you will drink a glucose solution. Your blood will then be checked once an hour over three hours. A gestational diabetes diagnosis is given if two of the three blood draws have higher than normal blood sugar levels.
Your health care provider will discuss a treatment plan thats right for you if you do have gestational diabetes. That may include:
- More frequent doctor appointments to check your blood sugar levels
- Healthy eating
- Limiting refined sugar and carbohydrates
- Monitoring blood sugar at home
If you are having a hard time managing your gestational diabetes, you may need insulin. Your doctor will help decide whats right for you.
If you have questions about gestational diabetes or are concerned about your risk, talk to your provider today. Find a doctor near you.
What Should I Do After My Blood Sugars Return To Normal Postpartum
- Continue to test your blood sugar! Test 2 hours after your largest meal a couple times per week. This is important data that will give you a heads up if your blood sugar starts trending up or you are just not tolerating the carbohydrate content in a particular meal.
- Limit processed carbs. Just because your blood sugars come down doesn’t mean you should eat all the junk. Generally avoid processed carbohydrate foods it will result in better blood sugar control long term.
- Focus on eating a nutrient rich whole foods diet. This is simple and will benefit your health on many levels. Those who eat a whole foods diet generally do not develop diabetes, simple as that.
- Move you body. Working out improves insulin sensitivity. If gestational diabetes indicates some level of insulin sensitivity you will want to do what you can to improve your response to insulin. Doing something as gentle as walking post-meal you can reduce your blood sugar without relying on insulin. This is a great tool and should be utilized!
- Get your A1c tested annually. Even if you are young getting your A1c tested each year is important. Those who miss these annual appointments sometimes miss the pre-diabetes diagnosis and jump straight to diabetes. Prediabetes is scary but it is still early enough to make changes to prevent a chronic disease. Prevention is key.
What strategies did you use to control blood sugar during and after pregnancy? Leave your comments below.
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Treatments For Gestational Diabetes
If you have gestational diabetes, the chances of having problems with your pregnancy can be reduced by controlling your blood sugar levels.
You’ll be given a blood sugar testing kit so you can monitor the effects of treatment.
Blood sugar levels may be reduced by changing your diet and exercise routine. However, if these changes don’t lower your blood sugar levels enough, you will need to take medicine as well. This may be tablets or insulin injections.
You’ll also be more closely monitored during your pregnancy and birth to check for any potential problems.
If you have gestational diabetes, it’s best to give birth before 41 weeks. Induction of labour or a caesarean section may be recommended if labour does not start naturally by this time.
Earlier delivery may be recommended if there are concerns about your or your baby’s health or if your blood sugar levels have not been well controlled.
Find out more about how gestational diabetes is treated.
My Alternative Gestational Diabetes Test
Instead of consuming the glucose drink, my doctor recommended that I test my blood sugar four times a day using a glucose monitor. I did this every day for one week, when I hit the 30-week-mark in my pregnancy.
What I love about this approach is that I get to see how my body handles the real food I eat on an everyday basis, which seems like it will provide a more accurate result compared to drinking a glucose beverage that I would have never chosen on my own.
The only downside is that I hate needles, and poking my finger 4 times a day isnt fun. But, after the first few times Ive finally gotten the hang of it and it really isnt that bad. This alternative simply involves testing my blood first thing in the morning , and then I have to test it again 2 hours after each meal, for a total of 4 times each day.
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What Is A Normal Blood Glucose Level
According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal blood glucose level on a gestational diabetes test is lower than 140 mg/dL .
If you have a blood glucose level between 140 and 199 mg/dL , its considered impaired glucose tolerance, or prediabetes.
A blood glucose level of 200 mg/dL or higher may mean you have gestational diabetes.
What Is A Prenatal Glucose Screening
Glucose screening checks for gestational diabetes, a short-term form of diabetes that some women develop during pregnancy. It’s becoming more common in the United States, affecting about 6% to 7% of pregnancies.
The test is usually done at 24 to 28 weeks, but sometimes earlier if a woman is at higher risk for gestational diabetes.
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What Is Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It happens when your body is not able to produce enough insulin to keep the amount of glucose in your blood at proper levels. Untreated GD increases the likelihood of having a large baby, and is associated with birth complications as well as health risks for the newborn . Untreated GD also increases the risk of stillbirth late in pregnancy . Women who develop GD are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. However, there is excellent treatment for GD, and most women diagnosed with GD have normal deliveries and healthy babies.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Tests
The purpose of the oral glucose tolerance test is to measure the body’s ability to use a type of sugar, called glucose. Glucose is the body’s main source of energy. An OGTT can be used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. An OGTT is most commonly done to check for diabetes that occurs with pregnancy, called gestational diabetes.
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Problems Of Gestational Diabetes In Pregnancy
Blood sugar that is not well controlled in a woman with gestational diabetes can lead to problems for the pregnant woman and the baby:
An Extra Large Baby
Diabetes that is not well controlled causes the babys blood sugar to be high. The baby is overfed and grows extra large. Besides causing discomfort to the woman during the last few months of pregnancy, an extra large baby can lead to problems during delivery for both the mother and the baby. The mother might need a C-Section to deliver the baby. The baby can be born with nerve damage due to pressure on the shoulder during delivery.
A C-section is an operation to deliver the baby through the mothers belly. A woman who has diabetes that is not well controlled has a higher chance of needing a C-section to deliver the baby. When the baby is delivered by a C-section, it takes longer for the woman to recover from childbirth.
High Blood Pressure
When a pregnant woman has high blood pressure, protein in her urine, and often swelling in fingers and toes that doesnt go away, she might have preeclampsia. It is a serious problem that needs to be watched closely and managed by her doctor. High blood pressure can cause harm to both the woman and her unborn baby. It might lead to the baby being born early and also could cause seizures or a stroke in the woman during labor and delivery. Women with diabetes have high blood pressure more often than women without diabetes.
Low Blood Sugar
Dont Worry About What You Can Do To Pass Your Glucose Screening
The internet is full of people asking how to pass the glucose screening. I get it, its a pain the butt, especially if you fail by a measly few points and you have to take the 3 hour. Plenty of people say things like, just dont eat anything the day of or take a walk before it or the worst: opt out of it.
My advice? Dont change anything. gestational diabetes
Simply put, this is one test that you do not want to cheat on. And the reality is that if you have it you wont be able to hide it anyway so dont even worry about it.
Remind yourself that if somehow it did go undiagnosed it puts your babies at risk of complications like macrosomia, hypoglycemia, preterm labor, and respiratory issues.
Drink the drink, get the stick, and hope for the best! But in the event that you fail as I did
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What Causes Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes occurs when your body cant make enough insulin during your pregnancy. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy.
During pregnancy, your body makes more hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain. These changes cause your bodys cells to use insulin less effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance increases your bodys need for insulin.
All pregnant women have some insulin resistance during late pregnancy. However, some women have insulin resistance even before they get pregnant. They start pregnancy with an increased need for insulin and are more likely to have gestational diabetes.
About 50% of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes, but there are steps you can take to prevent it. Talk to your doctor about how to lower your risk and how often to have your blood sugar checked to make sure youre on track.
How Different Foods Affect My Blood Glucose Levels
As it turns out, my glucose numbers are perfect, so Ive started having a little bit of fun while I have this glucose monitor and must poke my finger anyway. By fun, I mean Ive been trying out different food combinations to see how they affect my glucose levels.
For example, yesterday I had an all-fruit meal for breakfast to see if it would spike my blood sugar the way everyone always assumes it will, and in contrast, I had a low-carb breakfast another morning to see how my blood sugar responded to that. Below are my results!
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Favorite Meals And Recipes
I wish I had been better at writing down all of my favorite recipes, but I did have a few I jotted down.
I also thought I would share my MyFitnessPal food diary. You will need to use the code GDM to access it and its from about June 2019 through September 2019. It might give you some ideas.
I also found a lot of great ideas in the Clean Simple Eats cookbooks. All of these recipes fit very well within my allotted goals. They give the carbs, fat, and protein for all the recipes, and there are lots of ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts.
Be sure to signup below for my FREE Gestational Diabetes cheat sheet + a TON of snack ideas that you can make. Its actually taken from the cookbook above, so if you are trying to decide if you want it, be sure to sign up!
- Eggs with bacon bites, mozzarella, and veggies. I just ate a lot of eggs in general. It took me months to be able to eat them again after I had my baby.
- Corn tortilla with chicken, Greek yogurt, cheese, salsa, refried beans and spinach
- Protein Pasta with meat sauce
- Sandwich thin with hamburger patty, ketchup, mustard
- Oatmeal with protein powder and sausage kink
- Just crack an egg cups
- Naan pizzas
Nutrition And Diet For Gestational Diabetes
Following a healthy eating plan is important and to:
- Keep your blood sugars within target
- Provide proper nutrition for you and your baby
- Achieve proper weight gain during your pregnancy
Women with gestational diabetes are encouraged to:
- Eat 3 balanced meals at consistent times
- Eat small amounts often
- Satisfy hunger
- Include some healthy carbohydrates in every meal and snack
- Choose foods that are varied and enjoyable
- Are low in fat and high in fibre
- Are healthy sources of carbohydrates
- Provide what you need during pregnancy: calcium , iron and folic acid
- Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and used by the body for energy
- They are very important for you and your baby
- To help manage your blood sugars, it is important to spread your carbohydrates over 3 small meals and 2-3 snacks each day. Consistency and moderation of carbohydrates is the key to helping your blood sugars
- Timing of your meals and snacks is very important so that you have stable blood sugars and do not overeat at meals
- Multigrain or whole grain breads and breakfast cereals
- Whole wheat, whole grain pasta, noodles and rice
- Potato, sweet potato and corn
- Legumes such as baked beans, red kidney beans and lentils
Carbohydrates that contain little nutritional value:
- Sugar or sucrose
- Soft drinks
- Fruit juices
- Cakes and cookies. It is wise to avoid these foods or eat in moderate amounts
Do not restrict carbohydrates
- ½ vegetables
What Can I Drink
What if I am still hungry?
Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes does not usually cause any symptoms.
Most cases are only discovered when your blood sugar levels are tested during screening for gestational diabetes.
Some women may develop symptoms if their blood sugar levels gets too high , such as:
- needing to pee more often than usual
- a dry mouth
But some of these symptoms are common during pregnancy and are not necessarily a sign of gestational diabetes. Speak to your midwife or doctor if you’re worried about any symptoms you’re experiencing.
What Is A Glucose Test In Pregnancy
There are two glucose tests that are typically offered during pregnancy as part of your prenatal care. Both the glucose challenge test and the glucose tolerance test measure how your body responds to glucose and help determine if you have gestational diabetes, which may develop during your pregnancy.These glucose tests are routinely done during pregnancy and are recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for all pregnant women.
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Do Take Walks And Exercise As Often As You Feel Up To It
When I couldnt help myself and ate something that wasnt great for me I made it a point to get outside and walk. Or if it was raining I did laps around my apartment, followed by some energetic yoga or stretches.
The majority of the time I would see my number in the good range even though I knew what I ate should have put it over. This is not to say you can eat whatever you want and exercise your way into a healthy range, but staying active can work in conjunction with eating well to keep you healthier overall.
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