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What Is Gestational Diabetes and How to Cope

October 19, 2015

Around your 24th-28th week of pregnancy, your doctor will test you for gestational diabetes. (Though, if you’ve had gestational diabetes before, your doctor may test you around the 13th week of pregnancy.) Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop late in women’s pregnancy. Women who do get this complication do not have diabetes prior to getting pregnant.

Some women do not look forward to taking the glucose test, as the liquid they have to drink involves quickly drinking a sweetened liquid. Why do you have to drink it? Via webmd.com says: “The body absorbs this glucose rapidly, causing blood glucose levels to rise within 30 to 60 minutes”. Then, a blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm about an hour after drinking the solution. The blood test measures how the glucose solution was metabolized in your body. If your blood glucose level was higher than it should be, your doctor will have you re-tested again. If your results do indeed become back abnormal, you will be considered to have gestational diabetes.

If you have gestational diabetes, you are not alone. According to babycenter.com, between 2 and 10 percent of expectant mothers develop this condition, making it one of the most common health problems of pregnancy. This also means that there are a lot of treatment and support options available to you.

The main thing you’ll be working towards is getting your blood sugar under control and to keep it that way. You’ll be working towards making lifestyle changes to benefit both you and your baby. To help you pick the best foods to consume, it is recommended that you meet with a registered dietician to help make a diet plan that you can stick with. According to webmd.com, here’s a suggested food outline for a woman with gestational diabetes:

  • 10% to 20% of your calories from protein sources like meats, cheeses, eggs, seafood, and legumes
  • Less than 30% of your calories from fats
  • Less than 10% of your fat calories from saturated fats
  • The remaining 40% or so of your calories from carbohydrates like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables
  • Get More Exercise

Additionally, you will need to test your blood sugar 1-2 times a day with a blood glucose meter. Make sure your doctor gives you one and teaches you how to use it. If your blood sugar remains high, even after monitoring it closely, your doctor may put you on diabetes pills, and if those don’t do the trick, you may have to do insulin injections.

In addition to watching you closely, your doctor will also be watching your baby closely. Towards the end of your pregnancy, your doctor will monitor your baby’s growth more closely during the last weeks or months before your due date. Your doctor might even request an ultrasound if the baby appears to be growing very large. Most women are able to have a vaginal delivery with gestational diabetes, but some may suggest a cesarean section if the baby grows too large.

After you have delivered your baby, your doctor will check to make sure your blood sugar levels have returned to normal. From there, you will need to have your blood sugar levels rechecked about 6 weeks after delivery, and then yearly after that.

If you are worried about possibly getting gestational diabetes in the future, keeping your weight down, making healthy food choices, and exercising regularly can help ward off the disease. Additionally, some suggest that breastfeeding your baby may also provide you with some protection.

If you have dealt with gestational diabetes, what helped you deal with it?

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Avatar for Lacey Pappas

Lacey Pappas

Mother of 2 silly boys and a new baby girl. Happily married. Love to laugh, inspire others, take pretty photos, and curl up with a good book.

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