Gestational diabetes is a form of high blood sugar that affects pregnant women. The placental hormones can cause a spike in the levels of blood sugar. Since there are typically no warning signs or symptoms, pregnant women are automatically tested for gestational diabetes. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you can still give birth to a healthy baby. However, you will have to start a treatment plan immediately. Although it may be difficult, treatment for gestational diabetes requires making healthy choices concerning diet and exercise. The goal is to maintain a blood sugar level that stays within a healthy range. That way, you can continue to prevent any problems during pregnancy or delivery as well as in the future.
This might be easier said than done, especially during pregnancy, but eating healthier will make all the difference. A registered dietitian can help you create a meal plan. You might have to monitor your weight and document everything you consume. Eating fewer carbohydrates might help, but by no means should you lose weight. You and the registered dietitian will map out the range of weight gain you and your baby still need throughout the pregnancy.
You might feel reluctant to work out during pregnancy, but moderate exercise can help regulate your blood sugar levels. Your body uses insulin better when you complete even low-impact activities. You should try to complete about two to three hours of exercise each week, or stay active for about half an hour five days per week. You can join an exercise class for pregnant women if you never really worked out before and are unsure of where to begin, but make sure you talk to your doctor first. She or he can also recommend healthy tips and routines. Even walking is considered a helpful exercise for mothers-to-be with gestational diabetes.
This might seem like an obvious way to care for you and your growing baby, but it requires more than going to a traditional doctor’s appointment every week. You still have to go to routine OB/GYN visits, give a urine sample, and get basic vitals like blood pressure. Your doctor will discuss your weekly menu and workout routine. You may have to undergo a non-stress test or fetal ultrasounds. A movement monitor can perform kick counts to evaluate the size of the baby.
When you have gestational diabetes, you must check your blood sugar level often. Using an at-home kit, you can test your blood every day. Sometimes, you might have to do it more than once. To treat gestational diabetes, you need to know when your levels are out of range, so checking your sugar blood level is inevitable. According to the American Diabetes Association, the suggested levels for pregnant women with gestational diabetes is 95 mg/dl or less before a meal, 140 mg/dl or less one hour after a meal, and 120 mg/dl or less two hours after a meal.
If natural treatments like eating healthy and exercising regularly do not help bring your blood sugar levels down to a normal rate, then you might have to take medication. Diabetic medication is available for pregnant women as well as insulin shots. After monitoring your blood sugar levels and trying the other treatments for gestational diabetes, your doctor will need to prescribe the proper medicine, which you may need to continue taking even after labor.
Your doctor will monitor the fetus’ growth throughout the pregnancy since it is common for women with gestational diabetes to have babies with bigger birth weights. However, that does not mean you will necessarily have a cesarean, or C-section. Your OB/GYN will let you know if she or he feels as though the baby is too big, which can cause difficulties during labor. In that case, you may schedule a C-section early or induce labor. For any scenario, your blood sugar levels will be monitored during labor. That way, if it gets too high, an IV will give your body a small amount of insulin; likewise, if your levels plummet then you will receive a glucose IV. Your baby’s heart rate monitor will also play a key role during labor to see if an emergency C-section is needed. Don’t worry; cesarean sections are common for pregnant women with or without gestational diabetes.
Your blood sugar levels will be monitored for a few hours after delivery, but they should remain at a healthy range before too long. The newborn will also need to have his or her blood sugar levels checked to see if it is too low, in which case a glucose IV will be administered. Calcium and bilirubin levels may also be tested as well as a red blood cell count.
Your doctor may recommend you breastfeed your baby, if possible. Some women are unable to breastfeed for a plethora of reasons. However, it does deliver health benefits for both mommy and baby. Not only does it give your little one antibodies to strengthen the immune system, but it can lower the chance of the baby getting diabetes as a child or adult. It also helps you reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can cause problems in your pregnancy and delivery, but you can help prevent them with proper treatment. With your doctor, dietitian, and other members of the healthcare field on your side, you can work together to monitor your levels and lower them when needed. Besides, having a baby with a bigger birth weight or delivery via C-section is not terrible or impossible by any means.
If you have gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you are at risk for having it return during future pregnancies. For some women, this form of high blood sugar can uncover Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, especially if your levels were never tested before pregnancy. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, both gestational diabetes and Type 2 diabetes involve a resistance to insulin. However, if you continue to eat healthily and exercise regularly even after pregnancy, you can lower your chances. Being in the appropriate weight range can help prevent diabetes, so it is essential to stick to basic lifestyle changes.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.