Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. It affects up to 10% of pregnant women — and if you’re diagnosed with it, it’s important to take extra steps to protect your health and your baby’s.
Gestational diabetes puts your pregnancy at higher risk, because it can have serious health consequences for both moms and their baby if it’s not properly managed.
At Solace Women’s Care, Farly Sejour, MD, Natalie Gould, WHNP-BC, and our team have the experience to help you manage your health throughout pregnancy.
A gestational diabetes diagnosis can be scary, but you’re not alone. Here’s what you need to know about it and what you can do to keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible.
Understanding gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops when you’re pregnant. It happens when your baby’s placenta releases hormones that affect the way your body uses insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels. When your body can’t use it effectively, your blood sugar levels can get too high and pose health risks for both you and your baby.
Assessing your risk for gestational diabetes
Anyone can get gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but certain factors could increase your risk. These include:
- Being overweight or obese before pregnancy
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Being over the age of 35
- Having previously given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
If you have any of these risk factors, we may recommend earlier or more frequent testing for gestational diabetes to help ensure you get the best possible care.
How to manage your health with gestational diabetes
If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it’s important to know that it’s still possible to have a healthy pregnancy. Dr. Sejour and our team are here to help you manage your health with a range of treatments, including:
Monitoring your blood sugar levels
In most cases, we recommend checking your blood sugar levels a few times every day. Monitoring your blood sugar is the best way to determine if levels get too high, so we can make adjustments to your diet, medication, and overall treatment plan.
Monitoring your baby’s health
We also closely monitor your baby’s health. Gestational diabetes can increase your baby’s risk of very high birth weight, premature birth, and low blood sugar after birth.
To help avoid these complications, we monitor your baby’s growth and development throughout your pregnancy. This may include regular ultrasounds to check for any abnormalities or complications.
Eating a healthy diet
One of the best ways to manage blood sugar naturally is eating a healthy, balanced diet. If you have gestational diabetes, we recommend eating a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products.
If needed, we can recommend a registered dietitian to create a meal plan that meets your specific needs.
Exercise is an important part of managing gestational diabetes, and it can lower your risk of complications. That’s because regular physical activity helps improve insulin sensitivity and lower your blood sugar levels.
Low-impact exercises, like walking or swimming, are good options — especially if you didn’t exercise regularly before getting pregnant.
Some women can manage their gestational diabetes with lifestyle changes and more frequent prenatal visits. But in some cases, we may recommend taking medication to help manage your blood sugar levels, like insulin injections or oral medications.
Giving birth in a hospital
Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have complications during childbirth, such as a larger baby or the need for a cesarean delivery. Giving birth in a hospital with a team of experienced health care professionals can help ensure that you and your baby receive the best possible care.
Gestational diabetes is a serious condition, but with the right care, it’s possible to have a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.
To learn more about managing gestational diabetes, schedule a prenatal visit at Solace Women’s Care in Conroe, Texas. Together, we can create a plan to keep you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond.