Understanding Gestational Diabetes
One of the main concerns in gestational diabetes is the excess glucose that can pass into your baby’s blood forcing your little one’s pancreas to work extra hard to produce more insulin. This excess glucose can lead to high birth weights making delivery more challenging and potentially requiring a c-section. Additionally your baby might be born hypoglycemic due to their overproduction of insulin in utero. More serious risks include an increased risk of stillbirth and twice the risk of pre-enclampsia for moms. Your child will also have a higher chance of being obese and developing diabetes later in life.
Most pregnant women are screened for diabetes towards the end of the second semester. Some of the symptoms of gestational diabetes include a high BMI (obesity), frequent urination, and feeling especially tired, thirsty or hungry. Managing gestational diabetes with your physician is important and may include a combination of meal planning, exercise and insulin shots where necessary. Your practitioner will likely monitor the baby’s weight gain and ask you to pay special attention to your baby’s movement patterns during the third trimester.
Monitoring your blood sugar levels is essential in both preventing and managing gestational diabetes. Creating a low glycemic meal plan, managing your weight and including exercise is the cornerstone for both you and your baby’s health. Begin with some of the following:
Reduce excessively sweet foods- even though it’s tempting to overindulge in candy and ice cream, it is a much better idea to find healthful snacks that won’t skyrocket your blood sugar levels like vegetables and hummus, pear with nut butter and goat yogurt.
Eat frequent meals throughout the day- whatever you do, don’t skip meals! Eating frequently through the day will help to manage your insulin levels and keep you blood sugar levels steady.
Cut out refined carbohydrates- white flours and refined sugars will also spike blood sugar levels and don’t contain the nutritional value of their whole grain counterparts.
Eat balanced protein, carbohydrate meals and snacks- include a variety of grains, protein, fruits and veggies to ensure you are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals you need.
Exercise- 30 of moderate activity can go along way to helping to balance your blood sugar levels, while helping you to manage your weight gain during pregnancy.