Gestational diabetes is a complication that some women develop later in pregnancy. Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects the way in which your cells use glucose (sugar.) Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar and if not treated/controlled, it can be dangerous to you and your unborn baby. The good news, ladies, is that in most cases, it can be controlled by diet and exercise and will most likely dissipate postpartum.
I went in for my glucose test at 24 weeks gestation. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would have any problems with my glucose levels as I ate very healthy and exercised every day. I recieved a phone call from my Doctor a few days later stating that I had “full blown gestational diabetes” and that I needed to come in to his office immediately to discuss a treatment plan. I was shocked by this news and demanded a re-test as I just didn’t think that this was even possible! Usually, if you fail the first glucose test, the Doctor will order a more accurate re-test. Not in my case! My Doctor refused, stating that he was worried for my health and my babies health if he were to administer the glucose re-test.
I was so upset and worried by this news and felt guilty that I did something wrong that could potentially harm my babies. After talking to my Doctor and inquiring about the complication, this is what I learned:
*During pregnancy, the placenta produces high levels of numerous hormones that impair the affect of insulin (insulin is the hormone that helps transport sugar out of the bloodstream to your body’s cells where it is then used for energy.) So when the insulin is impared, the blood sugar level is higher.
* As pregnancy progresses, the placenta produces more insulin blocking hormones, causing you glucose level to be even higher.
* You can get this condition, even if you present no risk factors for it.
Risk factors include: Age greater than 25 years, Family or personal health history of diabetes, Excess weight
* Some women simply react differently to pregnancy than other women. Some bodies can handle and easily adjust to the imbalance of hormones while other bodies have a more difficult time.
* You may be at higher risk for developing GD if you are carrying multiples.
* In most cases, you can treat and control this condition by monitoring and controlling diet and exercise.
If you have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, talk to your Doctor about a healthy treatment and diet plan for you.
A few dietary tips to deal with GD:
* Eat a variety of healthy foods in 3 balanced meals and 2-4 snacks throughout the day.
* Do not skip meals! Eating consistently throughout the day will help keep your blood glucose levels stable.
* Pair lean protein with complex carbohydrates at meals and snacks. Protein helps you feel satiated and helps control bold sugar levels.
* Avoid all fruit juices, dried fruit and potentially any fruit (depending on severity of condition.) Opt for low glycemic index fruits. ex apples, cherries, grapefruit, pears.
* Make sure to eat a breakfast consisting of protein, fat and some complex carbs. Morning tends to be a time where glucose levels are off balance.
* Include high fiber foods such as vegetables, low glycemic index fruits, beans and other legumes as they breakdown slower and help stabilize spikes in blood glucose levels.
* DRINK WATER!
* Try and get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise/activity in each day.
Kelly S and O xo