What is gestational diabetes? It’s an extremely common condition which pregnant women who don’t already have diabetes can suffer from, appearing usually in the 6th or 7th month of pregnancy. Though it sounds scary, gestational diabetes usually disappears after pregnancy.
Several factors can influence the likelihood of becoming affected by gestational diabetes, including being overweight or being older than 35 years of age. Additionally, previously having a child who weighed more than 9 pounds at birth could be an indicator.
Gestational diabetes can he hereditary: those with a family whose history includes type 2 diabetes, or who are of Asian, Hispanic, African American, or Native American descent also have higher chances. Though very common and also easy to treat, it’s important to deal with gestational diabetes right away. It can lead to urinary tract infections in cases of high blood glucose, hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), macrosomia (where excess glucose in your blood affects the unborn child, making it grow larger than average), and preeclampsia (protein leaking into urine). This list is by no means exhaustive–if left untreated, gestational diabetes is frightening indeed.
These are the most extreme examples of what can happen, and the best way to prevent them from happening is to take the steps necessary to control and manage gestational diabetes. In this article are five helpful ways to control this condition and keep it from escalating.
1. Maintain a healthy diet.
With any case of diabetes or other disease, diet dramatically affects the body’s ability to recover. A nutritionist can assist in structuring a meal plan around pregnancy that’s tailored to each individual person. The idea is to keep blood sugar levels stable. Vitamins and macronutrients must be consumed in the right amounts, and the right combinations. Most women remark that they must deal with nagging food cravings while pregnant. A proper diet plan allows one to know when it’s okay to indulge, and when it’s better to stay disciplined. For those who can’t afford to see a nutritionist, online research will reveal a wealth of information about individual dietary needs, what supplements to take, and what foods to eat.
2. Stay active.
Being pregnant is no excuse to lead a sedentary, activity-free lifestyle. It’s true that high impact activities like running or kickboxing can be detrimental during pregnancy, but these are not the only types of exercise that matter. Walking is great, easy exercise that almost anyone can do. If the weight of the pregnancy causes uncomfortable strain on the back or hips, swimming is an alternative that is easy on the body. Exercising on an elliptical can carry many of the benefits of running and other cardiovascular exercise without high impact on the joints. Choosing the right activity doesn’t have to be hard: it could be anything from tai chi, to riding on a stationary bike, to gentle hiking. The most important thing is to stay active for as long as possible throughout the pregnancy.
3. Talk to a doctor.
It goes without saying that a seeing a doctor is of paramount importance when pregnant. A medical professional is the key to tying everything together. Though a carefully controlled diet can do wonders to mitigate the onset of gestational diabetes, talking to a medical professional can give any pregnant woman and her support system the information, tools, and support needed to avoid health issues. If the problem escalates, a doctor can prescribe insulin or other medication that isn’t always available over the counter.
4. Monitor and control blood glucose levels.
What gets measured gets managed. The best way to check for signs of diabetes is to regularly monitor blood glucose levels. Checking blood sugar at least once a day is an easy way to monitor conditions and keep the situation from escalating into something dangerous. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
5. Check for ketones.
Any pregnant woman should purchase a test for ketones upon learning they are pregnant. Ketones in the urine are a sure sign of gestational diabetes or worse. If the problem is detected early, it can be dealt with early. It’s best to talk to a doctor for advice on how to check for ketones, and what to do if they’re found.
Gestational diabetes can be dangerous if left alone, but it’s not something to panic about. Because it must be monitored to keep from growing out of control, give it the attention it needs and always err on the side of caution. Use of the previous tips and a carefully controlled diet will win half the battle. When in doubt, consult with a medical professional at any point during pregnancy.
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