While gestational diabetes usually can’t be prevented, it can be controlled with lifestyle changes, including dietary measures and exercise. Here’s what to do to ensure your baby’s health-and your own.
Gain slowly and steadily. While it’s important to gain enough weight during your pregnancy to sustain your child, gaining too much can make your body even more resistant to insulin than it already is. If you’re at a normal weight when you first get pregnant, expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds. If you’re already heavy at the time you conceive, try to limit weight gain to 15 to 25 pounds. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian who will help you meet nutritional needs and avoid excessive weight gain. Do not diet to try to lose weight. Both you and your baby need the proper nutrients in order to be healthy. If you’re underweight, try to gain steadily throughout your pregnancy.
- Get 30 minutes of light activity a day
- Eat for two, no more
- Keep an eye on your blood sugar
- Schedule a post-delivery checkup
It may be several weeks after your baby’s birth before your gestational diabetes goes away. To make sure it’s gone, your doctor will give you several blood tests, usually one the day after delivery, another six weeks later and, even if results are normal, tests at least once a year after that. If you continue to exercise, watch your weight, and eat a healthy diet, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding diabetes in the future.. If you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, testing your blood at certain times during the day will help you and your doctors know if lifestyle changes are keeping your blood sugar within normal range or if you might need medication.
Your doctor will show you how to obtain a drop of your blood (using a device called a lancet) and test it. If the thought of checking your own blood makes you squeamish, you’ll be glad to know that new monitoring systems like GlucoWatch (among others) automatically take samples and give results in about 10 minutes. (Your health insurance may or may not cover the cost of these devices. Check with your insurance company.. Eating at the right time, in the right amounts is one of the best ways to control your blood sugar, Unless she’s carrying more than one baby, a woman needs only 300 calories a day beyond her normal calorie intake to nourish her unborn child.