When you’re an expectant mom, you do everything you can to keep yourself (and your growing baby) as healthy as possible. But if you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, don’t get discouraged — we’re here to help you manage this condition on your journey to motherhood.
Hormonal changes and weight gain are part of a normal pregnancy. For about 6 to 7 percent of pregnant women in the U.S., these changes cause a rise in blood sugar, resulting in gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can be controlled but will require extra care and attention throughout your pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know:
Address Your Risk
You have a high risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy if:
- You had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy
- You had a very large baby or a stillbirth with a previous pregnancy
- You have polycystic ovary syndrome
- You are overweight or obese
- You are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, South or East Asian, or Pacific Islander
- You are older than 25
- You have a family history of diabetes
It’s routine for every pregnant woman to be tested for gestational diabetes, regardless of risk factors or family history. The most common test used in the U.S. involves drinking a sugary liquid and getting a blood test one hour later. If this shows a high level, a second test to confirm gestational diabetes may be done.
Lifestyle Changes Are Key
Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause problems for you and your baby. You run the risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. Those with gestational diabetes also have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Your baby risks growing too big, making delivery difficult and increasing your chance of needing a cesarean section (C-section). Your baby may also be born with low blood sugar and breathing problems.
Fortunately, treating gestational diabetes can help prevent these problems. Many women with gestational diabetes can keep their blood sugar under control by adopting healthy eating and exercise patterns.
Know that what you eat, how much you eat, and how often you eat all affect blood sugar levels. So limit sweets and work with your health care provider to develop a healthy eating plan that includes a balance of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Break down the 150 minutes into smaller sessions as needed. Low-impact exercises such as swimming and walking are great choices to control your blood sugar and weight.
Let AdventHealth Be Your Guide
Our goal is to guide you through your gestational diabetes to have a happy, healthy baby. Working with our care team can help you:
- Understand gestational diabetes
- Lower the risks to you and your baby
- Control your blood glucose
- Limit carbohydrates and plan your meals/snacks
Learn more about how our care team supports you through your entire journey to motherhood.