Tips for Managing Gestational Diabetes

A diagnosis of gestational diabetes can certainly throw things out of whack for the remainder of your pregnancy. From limited diets to tracking food consumption and upping your water intake, it may mean a lifestyle that you aren't accustomed to and some changes for the health of both you and your baby. Here are some easy tips for managing gestational diabetes.

Check Your Blood Sugars Regularly:  Meet with a Diabetes Educator or your OB to learn how to check your blood sugars, what your levels should look like and how to take any medications that they have prescribed to you.

Monitor Your Eating Habits:  Meet with a Dietitian/Nutritionist, they can help you monitor what you are eating and teach you how to change your diet to keep your blood sugars under control. 

Eat Those Carbs:  Carbohydrates are an important component in any Diabetes diet.  They are what keep your energized and what keeps your baby growing.  Hormones can make it difficult to control your blood sugars in the morning, so consider spreading out your carbohydrate intake throughout the day.  Eating a variety of foods like whole grains, fruits (with skin), veggies and dairy products will help you get the carbohydrates that you need.  High fiber or low-glycemic foods like apples, pears, broccoli, carrots, beans and flax seeds will help keep your blood sugars at your optimal level, which will also make you feel full longer.

Avoid Sweet Drinks: This includes juice, sweet tea, soda and any drink with added sugar.  These drinks are one of the fastest ways to raise your blood sugars.  Water is your best option or low-fat milk.

Physical Activity:  Regular physical activity is encouraged during pregnancy, however, if you develop Gestational Diabetes physical activity is a MUST.   Of course consider what your physical activity level was before your pregnancy and pick activities that will not put you or your baby at risk.  Try swimming, water aerobics or walking as these are low-impact activities.

Catch Some Z’s:  Because let’s be honest, getting enough sleep is important in every pregnancy.

Research Breastfeeding:  Exclusive breastfeeding (when breast milk is the only source of food for your baby) is recommended if you had Gestational Diabetes.  HOWEVER, please remember that the decision is ultimately up to you and whatever works for you and your family is what is best.  It doesn’t hurt to know all your options though.  Meeting with a lactation consultant could be very beneficial if you are considering breastfeeding.

Schedule Follow-up Visits:  Unfortunately, developing Gestational Diabetes increases your risk of Diabetes later in life as well as in any future pregnancies.  Some OB’s recommend all women that developed Gestational Diabetes get tested for Diabetes at 6 to 12 weeks postpartum due to this risk. It is important that you let your future doctors know you had Gestational Diabetes in a previous pregnancy so they are aware of any future risks you may have.