Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only in pregnant women. This condition happens when a woman cannot produce enough insulin resulting in high blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes affects between 2 and 10 percent of all pregnancies, which means there are more than 130,000 cases each year. Having elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy can lead to serious complications for both the mother and the fetus. Like other types of diabetes, the key to managing gestational diabetes is keeping your blood sugar levels under control.
1. Eat healthily
Eating healthy food will help you control your blood sugar levels. Make sure you eat the right amount of proteins, healthy starch, fruits, vegetables, and fats. Cut down on sugary drinks and processed food like ice cream, cakes, and biscuits. Instead of zero-calorie food, choose healthier alternatives such as whole food, fruits, and seeds. You are also encouraged to eat at least three meals a day and control your portion sizes to avoid gaining weight. Do not skip meals as it may prompt the body to crave for unhealthy diet choices.
2. Exercise regularly
Another effective way to manage gestational diabetes is to engage in regular physical activity. Exercise helps the body to use insulin more effectively, which results in lower blood sugar levels. It’s advisable to do mild to moderate exercises such as swimming, walking, jogging, or prenatal aerobics or yoga for at least 30 minutes every day.
3. Maintain a healthy weight
Overweight women are at a higher risk of having gestational diabetes. Moreover, overweight women with gestational diabetes tend to experience more complications as compared to those with a healthy weight. That’s why it’s important to eat low glycemic foodand exercise more to maintain a healthy weight. However, it’s not advisable to embark on a weight loss program during pregnancy. Just stick to moderate exercises and proper nutrition.
4. Test your blood sugar level
To control your blood sugar levels, you’ll need to test it regularly. Usually, doctors advise that you check your blood sugar levels four or five times a day, particularly in the morning and after meals. This will help you determine if your sugar levels are within the healthy range. Besides, testing your blood sugar level regularly will help you get a grasp on how certain food affect your blood sugar and adjust them appropriately.
5. Monitor your pregnancy
Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of both the mother and the baby developing complications. Therefore, you need to have more antenatal appointments so that the baby can be monitored.
6. Take medication if necessary
If your blood sugar level remains high despite making the necessary lifestyle changes, you may need insulin injections or diabetes pills to keep your blood sugar under control and protect your baby.
If you manage gestational diabetes with the tips mentioned above, you’ll deliver a healthy baby without complications.