Pregnancy comes with a host of challenges. Among them include abdominal pain, swelling during the third trimester, a persistent severe headache and even vomiting. But what if gestational diabetes strikes? According to Mayo Clinic, “Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health.” When it comes to managing gestational diabetes, here are some of the things you should do and not do. Do check your blood sugar regularly. “In order to decrease the risk of complications from gestational diabetes, close monitoring of fasting and postprandial – post-meal – blood sugars are essential,” says obstetrician and gynecologist Asha Heard, MD, assistant professor in the clinical section of maternal fetal medicine at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. According to Heard, here are some stats that you should remember: fasting blood sugar equals less than 95 milligrams per decilitre, two-hour postprandial blood sugar goal equals less than 120 milligrams per decilitre and one-hour postprandial blood sugar equals less than 130 milligrams per decilitre. Dr. Heard also advices to best meet up with your doctor to learn how to check your blood sugar and see if adjustments need to be made. Do meet with a registered dietician. Meeting with a registered dietician or a diabetes educator can teach you how and when to check your blood sugar, what kind of diet you should undergo and what kind of exercises you should do. They can also teach you how to take prescribed medicines that can help you manage your gestational diabetes.
Do take medication as prescribed. Of course you need to take medication as prescribed. One kind may be insulin, although some women may be wary and cautious in taking such medication since they are not sure of its safety during pregnancy. Research states, though, that the newer and long-acting insulin are deemed safe during pregnancy.
Do eat carbohydrates. Registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator Meredith Nguyen, RD says, “The average person needs 135 grams of carbohydrates daily, but if you have gestational diabetes, that increases to 175 grams a day.”
Bear in mind that eating carbohydrates – especially when you have gestational diabetes – is good for you. Eating a wide-variety of food such as fruits (with its skin not peeled), whole grains, dairy products, and vegetables can give you the carbohydrates that you need. Low-glycemic food or high-fiber can help keep your blood sugar in check and can even help you feel full longer.
Nguyen adds, “Pregnancy hormones can make it hard to control morning blood sugars so you might be spreading carbs more through lunch and dinner.”
Do exercise. Whether you have gestational diabetes or not your body still needs to stretch those muscles. Heard says, “Regular exercise is also beneficial to overall health and may help to improve glucose metabolism.”
Instead of lying in the couch all day long, head out for a walk or a run in your neighbourhood. Do some laps in the pool or do some aerobics at the gym. Join fitness clubs or centres too.
Do get sleep. You’ve perhaps heard of the mantra that getting eight hours of sleep is good for you. This is indeed true – whether you have gestational diabetes or not. For women who have difficulty getting the shut-eye during pregnancy, consult your doctor about it.
Do research breastfeeding. Research states that breastfeeding exclusively can help you manage your gestational diabetes. So while pregnant, learn to read up on exclusive breastfeeding. You can also talk to your doctor about it to learn more how this works.
Don’t eat the sweet stuff. Avoid gulping down carbonated drinks such as sodas as these are filled with sugar. Heard says, “Avoid foods high in sugar and carbohydrate content.” Instead, water is the safest bet and if you really need to have some flavour in your liquid, go for low-fat milk.
Don’t ignore the information given to you. Of course you need to digest and to savour what your doctor or any other professional tells you. So better listen when he speaks, follow his rules and regulations and you’ll be alright. According to the Twiniversity website, “The thing to remember is that while it’s not so much fun, it’s actually quite easy to keep your sugar in check once you know what you’re doing. It won’t happen overnight, but following the rules and guidelines you’re given will help ensure success.”
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