Gestational diabetes is a carbohydrate metabolism disorder first diagnosed in pregnancy when an increase in blood glucose is detected by a glucose tolerance test.
Impaired maternal metabolism can affect the physiology, growth, and development of the baby.
The condition goes away after the child is born.
Although there are some risks of type 2 diabetes and hypoglycemia after birth or in the future.
For the most part, gestational diabetes is easily treated.
Many women are scared when they hear that they have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes (Source).
But with advancements and understanding gained in modern medicine, treating gestational diabetes is quite simple.
There is, of course, some danger to the mother and unborn child if the condition is left untreated.
Following through with doctors’ orders and the likely simple treatment plans can ensure the health and well-being of both mother and child.
Gestational Diabetes Symptoms. Treatment Plans And Eating Habits
The most common treatment for gestational diabetes is following a healthy, diabetes-friendly diet plan.
No matter what other treatments your doctor offers, a diet will be the most recommended treatment for your condition.
This is because your diet has the biggest impact on your glucose levels.
A healthy, gestational diabetes-friendly diet is one that is low in sugars and simple carbohydrates.
Protein and complex carbohydrates are recommended, as well as lots of fresh vegetables.
Part of your diet plan may also include tips such as:
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Stay hydrated and choose water over juices or soda
- Eat sugar-free treats only in moderation
- Balance any carbohydrates with a protein
- Choose whole-wheat bread, pasta, and crackers over-processed white versions
Gestational Diabetes. The Diet. What Food Should Pregnant Women Eat? Safe Pregnancy Poster:
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As part of a healthy diet, lifestyle changes may be recommended as well.
Regular exercise can help you to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
This is because exercise burns off excess glucose as well as calories.
Every woman with gestational diabetes will be asked to monitor her blood sugar levels regularly.
Depending on your doctor and how severe your condition is, you may be asked to check your blood sugar levels multiple times a day.
Testing your blood sugar is quite simple and while it might seem scary to some, it is painless.
For more severe cases, insulin therapy may be necessary.
In almost all cases, insulin can be administered via pills instead of injections.
While the diagnosis may be scary at first, gestational diabetes is a fairly easy condition to treat.
Following through with the treatment plan that your physicians put out for you is very important to the health of both you and your unborn child.
Weight Gain And Gestational Diabetes Is There A Connection?
When it comes to gestational diabetes, weight gain during pregnancy often gets the lion’s share of the blame.
The fact is that weight gain is a natural part of pregnancy.
However, the normal weight gain associated with pregnancy combined with a few new, and unfamiliar, hormones, creates an atmosphere in which insulin is no longer able to process glucose in the blood the way it ordinarily does.
For this reason, gestational diabetes, weight gain, and hormones go hand in hand.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
It’s important to note that anyone who is pregnant can develop gestational diabetes.
There are no outward symptoms of gestational diabetes, though there are a few risk factors that increase the possibility of developing gestational diabetes, weight gain isn’t among them, though obesity is.
Other risk factors include:
- Ethnicity (women of certain racial or ethnic backgrounds are at increased risk for gestational diabetes)
- Age (women over the age of 35 are more susceptible)
- Family history of diabetes
- Personal history of gestational diabetes
- Previous birth of child weighing more than eight pounds
- High blood pressure
- Excess amniotic fluid
Because there are no visible symptoms of gestational diabetes, doctors will order tests on all women who are pregnant between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy unless there are enough indicators, such as those mentioned above, to warrant earlier testing.
Some physicians will skip testing in women who are within normal weight ranges, who are not of high-risk ethnicity, have no family history of diabetes, present no other common risk factors, and are under the age of 25 — though this is not a standard practice.
Is Gestational Diabetes Weight Gain a Foregone Conclusion?
With obesity playing such a high-profile role among risk factors, it’s easy to get caught up on that one aspect of gestational diabetes.
Weight gain, though, does not always coincide with gestational diabetes.
Once a diagnosis is made, it’s not uncommon for women to experience some weight loss as women increase fitness levels and make dietary changes in response to the diagnosis of gestational diabetes.
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Weight gain becomes less pronounced — even during pregnancy, and maybe negated by the improved health and fitness.
So the answer is no.
When it comes to gestational diabetes, weight gain is not inevitable.
In fact, it’s not even likely once you begin making the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle to keep you and your baby healthy.
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The most critical thing to help you see past stereotypes such as gestational diabetes weight gain and more is to educate yourself about what gestational diabetes represents in your life and for the many other women (current CDC estimates are that 18 percent of all pregnant women develop gestational diabetes) who have this condition.
Once you have the facts, you can put worries about excessive gestational diabetes weight gain and other myths behind you to focus on the changes you must make for the sake of your health and the health of your unborn child.
Gestational Diabetes Meal Ideas.
It’s not always easy to know what to eat when you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Even if you were fortunate enough to have a consultation with a nutritionist, you may have many unanswered questions.
Regardless of whether you’re taking medications, insulin, or relying on diet and exercise alone, it’s important to make changes to your diet for the sake of your health now, and in the future.
These gestational diabetes meal ideas should help you get your diet under control and on track.
One of the best gestational diabetes meal ideas you should follow is to cut down the size of your meals and have more of them throughout the day.
This is an effective strategy because it helps you avoid the blood sugar spikes and roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows that often occur in the hours between meals when you only have three larger meals in the day.
Many people will tell you that you should eliminate carbs from your gestational diabetes meal ideas and plans.
That’s not always wise.
The best gestational diabetes meal ideas include healthy carbohydrates as integral parts of the daily diet.
Carbs become energy and you need that energy during pregnancy!
Eggs are Your Friends
Eggs make for many great gestational diabetes meal ideas.
They’re easy to prepare, versatile, packed with protein, and often palatable when little else is.
You have a wide range of diabetic diet-friendly meal choices with eggs including scrambled egg dishes, omelets, frittatas, quiches, and more.
Be on the Lookout for Hidden Sugars
What many people neglect to tell you when suggesting various gestational diabetes meal ideas is that some surprising foods have hidden sugars you need to be aware of.
However, when you have gestational diabetes, you need to be selective about the fruits and vegetables you choose.
Eat these Vegetables Instead
Leafy greens are almost always an excellent choice for diabetes-friendly meals and snacks.
So are eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower, green beans, snow peas, squash, and avocado (though this should be eaten sparingly because of its high-fat content).
Keep these in mind while on the lookout for great gestational diabetes meal ideas and try to build meals (and snacks) around them.
Keep Meals Simple
The easier it is to include great gestational diabetes meal ideas into your daily routine, the more likely it is that you’ll do it.
Difficult, time-consuming meals are hardly worth the effort when you’re eating every two hours.
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More importantly, they go against the key concept of keeping meals small.
You don’t have to move mountains to make delicious, easy to prepare gestational diabetes meal ideas to work for you.
Keep things simple, make them friendly to your condition, and include a little exercise (physician-approved exercise that is) into your daily routine for a healthy baby and a healthier you.
These great meal ideas will help you stay on top of your condition now while developing healthy eating habits that will serve you well long after your little bundle of joy arrives.
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