Understanding Gestational Diabetes And How It Can Be Controlled

If you are pregnant, then it is vital that you meet with your obstetrician regularly for checkups to make sure that you and your baby are as healthy as possible. During the first trimester, you can expect some blood tests to be conducted. The initial tests check for antibodies for diseases like rubella, and they also assess whether you have a serious illness like hepatitis B. Tests are also used to check your blood counts and your blood type. If you are at risk of developing diabetes, then blood sugar levels may be tested. These tests, or blood tests conducted later on, may indicate that you have gestational diabetes. Keep reading to understand what this ailment is and how it is treated.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a certain type of diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy. It occurs when your blood sugar levels become too high. Most women will have higher blood sugar levels during pregnancy. The body allows more sugar to remain in your blood so it can nourish your baby. To make sure your body can retain as much sugar as your baby needs, the body becomes more resistant to the insulin that is produced by your pancreas.  

The resistance to the insulin allows the sugar to move to your growing child instead of being used by the cells in your body. While most women will retain higher-than-normal blood sugar levels throughout their pregnancies, the pancreas does produce more insulin if you consume more sugar than usual. This allows blood sugar to remain at a high, but consistent, level that is safe for both you and your child.

If your body becomes more resistant to insulin than it should or if your pancreas cannot keep up with the demand for insulin, then your blood sugar levels will rise. When this happens and the levels do not drop, then you have a form of diabetes called gestational diabetes.

The good news is that the condition will likely resolve itself once you give birth to your child. You may be at risk of developing diabetes in your future, but you most likely will be healthy once your child is born.

How Is The Condition Controlled?

While gestational diabetes is a temporary condition, you will need to control it while you are pregnant. This is necessary to keep yourself and your child healthy. Most women do not need medication unless conservative methods of control are ineffective. Control is usually possible with a diet and exercise regimen. Your diet should include fruits, vegetables, low-fat meats, whole grains, and plenty of water. You should reduce your intake of fried foods as well as items that contain a great deal of sugar. This may mean that you need to control your cravings. Talking with a trusted family member or friend on a daily basis, arranging healthy snacks for yourself, eating junk food in smaller portions, and substituting high-sugar foods with low-sugar options are all good ways to control your cravings. 

When you start thinking about an exercise regimen, think about engaging in low-impact activities. Exercising moderately for about 20 to 30 minutes each day is safe and healthy for you and your baby. Choose exercises like swimming, biking, and walking. Also, classes that are geared towards mothers, like prenatal yoga and pilates for pregnant women, are good options.

When you engage in exercise, make sure to eat a full meal at least 30 minutes beforehand. This will provide you with enough calories so you can exercise safely, and it will help you to control cravings once the workout is over. Also, rest for at least 30 minutes afterwards so you do not place your body under a great deal of stress. 

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