If you’re dealing with gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, you’re not alone. According to the American Diabetes Association, up to 9.2 percent of all pregnant women in the United States will experience this condition.
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While the exact cause of gestational diabetes isn’t fully understood, the condition is believed to be related to your body’s placenta hormones blocking the action of insulin.
Since your body isn’t making or using enough insulin to process the glucose in your blood properly, gestational diabetes develops. This condition can harm you and your baby, so try the following five tips to help you deal with gestational diabetes during your pregnancy and ensure a safe delivery for you and your child.
1. Keep A Visit Schedule With Your Provider
You’ll need more than just the usual checkups with your OB-GYN and the other doctors with whom you are working to stay on top of your condition. Schedule and stick to the visits your doctor recommends. Take note of all instructions you receive, such as diet tips, and take any medications you’re prescribed as directed. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about any aspect of the diabetes or your condition. Contact your doctor immediately if you feel something is wrong.
2. Watch Those Blood Sugar Levels
Your doctor will tell you how and when he or she wants your blood sugars tested. You may have to test your levels yourself at points throughout the day. Your doctor will show you how to use the testing device and what the readings mean if that’s the case. Follow all blood testing directions and guidelines from your healthcare provider. Tell your delivery team about your condition as soon as possible to ensure that they’re testing and monitoring your levels immediately.
Do any follow up testing as is necessary after your delivery. Although gestational diabetes usually resolves itself after you have the baby, your doctor will still want to check your blood sugar levels for a period afterward to be on the safe side.
3. Stick To Your Diet
You should receive dietary instructions and sample meal plans from your doctor or nutritionist. What you eat affects your blood sugar levels, so stick to the diet guidelines you get from your provider. Generally, whole grains, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean proteins are recommended. Stay away from simple carbohydrates. Things with starch like cakes, cookies, potatoes and items with sugar, such as pop and juice, can cause dangerous spikes in your blood sugar levels.
4. Start An Exercise Plan
Work with your doctor to create a safe and effective workout routine for your pregnancy, even if you didn’t work out before you became pregnant. Exercise helps keep your blood sugar levels under control in a natural way. Begin by taking short walks and working your way up if you can. Try adding a little more to your routine, such as low impact activities like a stationary bike, if you were already doing some exercise before your pregnancy. Consult your medical care provider before starting or adding to any exercise routine.
5. Build A Support Network
You’ll want to keep your stress levels to a minimum, as that’s best for both you and your baby. Don’t go through the experience alone. Speak to your partner, friends and family members for support. You can ask a friend or family member to do some of the exercises with you, for example. Look up both local and online support groups for pregnant women. You may even find groups of women who are also experiencing gestational diabetes you can join for more support.