Updated: Mar 11, 2021
We have all heard of diabetes but maybe not so much about Gestational Diabetes. I find that gaining knowledge and being prepared for all the things that come with pregnancy is the best way to remain calm. Knowing what Gestational Diabetes is and how to reduce the risk of developing it can alleviate a lot of anxiety for expecting moms.
What is Gestation Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). A hormone called insulin controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood by moving it into your cells and allowing for the creation of energy. If your insulin levels are insufficient or ineffective, you are now left with very high glucose levels in your blood.
Connection between Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy
When you are pregnant the placenta actually produces insulin blocking hormones. During pregnancy this is a GOOD thing. Your baby gets nutrients from your blood, so in fact, having glucose stay in your blood longer after a meal allows for your baby to have extended access to the nutrients. Therefore, a certain level of insulin resistance during pregnancy is normal.
A certain level of insulin resistance is normal during pregnancy. The concern here is that your blood glucose may actually get too high during pregnancy, when this occurs you can be diagnosed with gestation Diabetes. Women who had the following, may be more likely of developing this condition:
you were already insulin-resistant before becoming pregnant
your blood glucose levels were already high before becoming pregnant
you have conditions that put you at greater risk for becoming insulin resistant
Although according to studies, there is no guaranteed prevention method, adopting more healthy habits prior to and during the pregnancy may significantly lower your risk of developing Gestation diabetes. If you have already had gestation diabetes during a previous pregnancy, following some of the tips below may help you avoid being diagnosed again for following pregnancies.
Eat healthy foods. Choose foods high in fiber and low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without compromising taste or nutrition. Watch portion sizes.
Keep active. Exercising before and during pregnancy can help protect you from developing gestational diabetes. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps. Short bursts of activity — such as parking further away from the store when you run errands or taking a short walk break — all add up too.
Start pregnancy at a healthy weight. If you're planning to get pregnant, losing extra weight beforehand may help you have a healthier pregnancy. Focus on making lasting changes to your eating habits that can help you through pregnancy, such as eating more vegetables and fruits.