Sugar Mama: how to avoid gestational diabetes
While cravings for certain foods will happen throughout your pregnancy, it’s important that you assess your individual risks and maintain a balanced diet and listen to what your body needs - not necessarily everything you want!
Here are 4 practical tips to help you avoid gestational diabetes
1. Know what causes gestational diabetes and assess your risk factors
Make sure you’re across the details of your family’s diabetic history – especially whether a diagnosis was Type 1 (an autoimmune disorder) or Type 2 diabetes (closely linked to diet and lifestyle). If gestational diabetes runs in your family, you are at high risk.
There are a few other causes for gestational diabetes to take into consideration as well:
Are you more than 35 years old?
Are you overweight?
Have you previously given birth to a large baby (more than 4 kilograms)?
Do you have Pacifica, Maori, or Asian Indian heritage?
Do you have a history of polycystic ovary syndrome?
If you answered yes to any of these questions (or all of them) you’re more susceptible to gestational diabetes and should take extra precaution in consultations with your LMC.
2. Stay healthy through diet
High-fiber foods are a great go-to – think whole grains, bran, fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens. When it comes to protein, opt for leaner meats such as chicken and fish and go for nuts as snacks.
Fresh fruits are also a healthy option, but be mindful that fruit juices are high in natural sugars and controlling blood sugars is key. Also, sometimes juices contain artificial sweeteners. Consider gluten-free options as opposed to starchy pastas and breads as they are more likely to spike your blood sugar.
3. Get screened for gestational diabetes symptoms during your pregnancy
Gestational diabetes may not show up with obvious symptoms, so it’s important to keep to your regular check-ups with your LMC.
During weeks 24-28 of your pregnancy, you’ll be given a blood test that will look for any risk of gestational diabetes.
If there is a sign that you might be at risk, you’ll be prescribed with an in-lab gestational diabetes test where you’ll drink a syrupy solution followed by a blood test to check sugar levels. Even though everything might feel fine and gestational diabetes symptoms may not be present, make sure you follow through with all of your blood test appointments and take the advice that follows from your LMC.
4. Stay fit and exercise
Want to reduce your risk of gestational diabetes by about 70%? Just schedule some of these pregnancy exercises into your daily routine.
It might seem like a commitment but just 30 minutes a day, or four hours a week, will make all the difference - and, give you more energy, generally. Whether you exercise in the great outdoors, at a gym or in a yoga or pilates studio, getting your body moving will have a positive impact on your wellbeing. It also helps your body become more sensitive to the insulin your pancreas is creating - allowing better blood sugar control.
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