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Hi, my name is Ellen Thomsen, I'm a registered dietician and certified Diabetes Educator at CHI Health. Today, I'm here to talk to you about gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can be a scary diagnosis, however, it's something you can manage. Gestational diabetes is elevated blood sugar during pregnancy. The hormones produced by your placenta create something called insulin resistance. You'll be working closely with your doctor to make sure you and baby or both safe.
3 Key Ways to Manage Gestational Diabetes
Nutrition considerations, testing your blood sugar, and adding physical activity are the three ways to best manage gestational diabetes.
When we talk about food choices that impact gestational diabetes, we're focusing on carbohydrate-containing foods. It doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite things. It just means we're going to spread those foods out differently to make sure you and baby are giving plenty of the nutrients that you need.
Your doctor will likely prescribe you a glucose meter to start checking your blood sugar, usually this is four times a day. While this can be scary for a new mom, it's the best way to ensure we're keeping those blood sugars in target ranges.
Moms who run a higher blood sugar might also want to be adding physical activity. If you weren't physically active previous to this pregnancy, or aren't currently physically active, work with your doctor to find an exercise routine that works best for you. Even adding a walk after dinner can help you to control those blood sugars throughout the day.
How Important is Managing Gestational Diabetes?
The thing we want is the health of you and your baby. Potential risks for baby of moms that have gestational diabetes are pre-term labor, a high birth weight, such as close to nine pounds or over nine pounds, or even a low blood sugar at birth. Again, treatment including nutrition, exercise and testing your blood sugars help to minimize these risks for your baby once your healthy baby is here. There are definitely things you're going to want to do to decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Get Into a Healthy Routine
First thing, find a good exercise routine, being a new mom, you're going to be tired and pretty busy. Find ways to incorporate your baby into exercise or find family or friends that can help watch your children, so you can make sure you're getting some activity. Finding a healthy eating routine after delivery of your baby is another key piece to preventing type 2 diabetes. Adding good healthy foods, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, are all key things you're going to want to include in a healthy eating plan. Like I said, you're going to be busy with that new baby, so find ways to meal plan or ask for help if you need assistance with getting groceries or even cooking meals.