What is Gestational Diabetes?

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Gestational Diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women. This particular type of diabetes begins during pregnancy, usually around the 5th or 6th month. It usually goes away after the baby is born.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes:

Increased urination
Weight loss in spite of weight gain
Blurred vision
Fatigue
Increased thirst
Nausea and vomiting
Frequent infection ie: bladder, vaginal or skin.

How it affects you and your baby:

Having high sugar levels in your blood is unhealthy for you and your baby. If it is not treated, your baby may have problems at birth. Some issues include low blood sugar level or even jaundice. Your baby may weigh a lot more than normal. If that is the case, it can cause complications during your delivery. You may need a cesarean section (c-section).

Here is what may be recommended in controlling gestational diabetes:

You may need to see a nutritionist if your doctor recommends so. You may need to change some of the foods you eat. Your meals may need to be planned. It is important to avoid eating foods that contain high amounts of simple sugars, cookies, cake, ice cream, candy. Fruit is a wiser, healthier choice.

Exercise is helpful in maintaining normal blood sugar levels:

Your doctor may recommend exercise that is safe for both you and your baby. Not only does it make you feel better, but it can help your levels stay normal. Some examples of exercise that are great are walking and swimming. Consult with your doctor to be sure of which activities are safe for you.

Note:  If you happen be the type to get hungry in between meals, you should eat foods that are good for you. Raisins, carrot sticks, and fruit are great choices. Eating food such as whole grain breads and pasta and rice are healthy for both you and your baby.

It’s extremely important to eat well-balanced meals. Depending on how much weight you gain during your pregnancy, you may need to eat a little less at each meal. Breaking your meals into smaller, more frequent meals can work well.

What type of testing will be done?

Your blood sugar levels may need to be checked regularly. This is how your doctor will be able to evaluate whether your dietary and exercise changes are working successfully. They need to be at a normal level. Normal blood sugar levels are less than 105 mg per dL when you haven’t eaten for hours before the test is taken, and less than 120 mg per dL two hours after a meal. Sometimes insulin is recommended to help lower levels if your blood sugar level reads higher. At that time, you may be referred to a specialist if insulin is needed.

After Your Baby Is Born:

Once your baby is born, you may have your levels checked. It may take several weeks for the gestational diabetes to go away. Levels may be checked again a month or two after your baby is born.

Once you have had gestational diabetes, you have a higher risk for diabetes in your next pregnancy and later on in life. It is best to continue exercising and watching your diet and weight.

Here is a sample diet for gestational diabetes:

Sample Diet #1:

Breakfast

2 slices whole grain toast

2 tablespoons of peanut butter

1/2 cup of 100% juice

Mid-morning Snack

1 apple

1 cup cottage cheese

Lunch

1 cup of lentil soup (or other bean soup)

1 serving of whole grain crackers

2 ounces of low fat cheese

1 cup baby carrots

Mid-afternoon Snack

20 raw almonds

1 cup grapes

Dinner

6 ounces of fish of choice

1 cup steamed broccoli

1 cup brown rice

1 cup reduced-fat milk

Evening Snack

5 cups air-popped popcorn (plain)

Sample Diet #2:

Breakfast

2 egg whites, scrambled

1 whole egg, scrambled

1 whole wheat English muffin

1 teaspoon butter or margarine

1 slice of melon

Mid-morning

6 ounces yogurt

1/4 cup of low fat granola

Lunch

2 slices whole grain bread

2 ounces sliced turkey or chicken (low-sodium)

1 slice of cheese

Lettuce leaves

Tomato slices

1 tablespoon of mustard or mayonnaise

1 apple

1 cup reduced fat milk

Mid-afternoon Snack

1/4 cup hummus

1 cup of raw vegetables of choice

Dinner

5 ounces grilled chicken breast

1 cup steamed carrots (or vegetable of choice)

1 small baked sweet potato

2 tablespoons of sour cream

Evening Snack

Small smoothie made with:

1 cup reduced-fat milk

½ cup strawberries

Crushed ice

 

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