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Gestational Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes is Common in the Bluegrass During pregnancy, the way your body uses insulin changes. Insulin breaks the foods you eat down into glucose, or sugar. You then use that glucose for energy. You’ll naturally become more resistant to insulin when you’re pregnant to help provide your baby with more glucose. In some women, the process goes wrong and your body either stops responding to insulin or doesn't make enough insulin to give you the glucose you need. That’s what causes gestational diabetes. Women who are at higher risk for gestational diabetes were overweight before pregnancy, have a family member with diabetes, are age 25 or older, had gestational diabetes in an earlier pregnancy, had a very large baby (9 pounds or more) or a stillbirth, have had abnormal blood sugar tests before pregnancy or they are Hispanic, African-American, Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander. There are ways you can reduce your chances of obtaining gestational diabetes. Controlling your weight and blood sugar before pregnancy will give you and your baby a healthy start! It’s much easier to achieve a healthy weight when your body isn’t supporting two people. If you are already overweight practice basic healthy eating. Eat protein with every meal. Include daily fruits and vegetables in your diet. Thirty percent or less of your diet should be made up of fat. Think high-fiber, low-fat options (whole grains, low-fat dairy, meat, legumes and fish) Check out ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information on how much you should eat from each food group and what constitutes a portion. Limit or avoid processed foods and drinks. Also pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating. And don’t forget to drink water to avoid juice, soft drinks, etc. Exercise under your Doctor or Midwife’s supervision. A 30 minute walk a day allows your body to burn glucose even without the insulin your body should normally produce. It’s a great way to keep your blood sugars in check, and you’ll probably love the way you feel once you get motivated to move. If you need to start out at 15 minutes that is fine, just start moving! Keep your appointments. Make sure you attend all your scheduled prenatal visits. Around weeks 24-28, you will be screened for gestational diabetes. If you do have gestational diabetes, your provider will work with you and an endocrinologist to help give you and your baby the healthiest start possible. After Delivery there is a very good chance that your diabetes will go away immediately after the delivery. This is especially true if your diabetes was controlled with only diet and exercise during pregnancy. You should continue to check your blood glucose as directed by your provider until all symptoms are gone. However, if you have gestational diabetes, your risk of type 2 diabetes after your pregnancy rises so follow the same healthy diet and exercise plan. Getting back to a healthy weight will also lower your risk. You will also have more energy to keep up with your new baby. Allison Cook, M.D. Lexington Women’s Health
Originally Published on Friday, April 20, 2018