Can I Prevent Gestational Diabetes?

Can I Prevent Gestational Diabetes?

Prenatal care has come a long way over the thousands of years women have been giving birth. However, with increased education and screenings also comes a heightened level of anxiety over all the possible things that can go wrong during pregnancy. 

One of these prenatal problems that women lose sleep over is gestational diabetes. The threat of this pregnancy complication looms over many expectant mothers, but it doesn’t have to. 

At MD² in Lakeville, Minnesota, our expert, Dr. Megan Dillman, is dedicated to helping you understand and mitigate your risk for gestational diabetes,

Fast facts about gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a unique type of diabetes that develops in women who don’t already have diabetes and subsides after delivery. Around 2%-10% of pregnant women in the United States are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. 

It happens because your rapidly changing hormones interfere with your body’s ability to process blood sugar efficiently, causing spikes in blood sugar levels. 

It’s not quite understood why some women get gestational diabetes and others don’t, but there are a few factors that may increase your risk, including:

There’s also some correlation between certain races and an increased risk. For example, Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian American women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes. 

At around 28 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor should offer screening for gestational diabetes, but there are some alternatives. For instance, you can monitor your blood sugar at home with a basic glucometer. Talk to Dr. Dillman about the best way to check for gestational diabetes.

How you can work toward preventing gestational diabetes

There are no guarantees with gestational diabetes, but with a few simple strategies, you can make significant strides in reducing your risk. Here’s what you should know.

Start before conception

One of the best things you can do to avoid gestational diabetes is to establish healthy habits before you get pregnant. Do your best to get to a healthy weight and focus on making lasting changes to your eating habits. 

Avoid excess weight gain

The adage “eating for two” may feel true at some points during your pregnancy, but if you adopt this diet during pregnancy, the results could be devastating. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can quickly increase your risk for gestational diabetes. 

Remember that you really only need 300 extra calories a day during pregnancy.

Load up on the good stuff

Cravings can come crashing down on your attempts to eat healthily, but resisting the urge to chow down on sweets and treats goes a long way in your fight against gestational diabetes. Choose nutritious and delicious foods to satisfy your tastebuds without throwing your prenatal plans off course.

Stay active

We also recommend that you start and maintain a regular workout routine before and during pregnancy. All it takes is 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week. Try walking, riding a bike, swimming laps, and other low-impact, pregnancy-safe exercises. 

Why avoiding gestational diabetes matters

It may seem strange to fuss over a condition that goes away once you’ve delivered, but gestational diabetes carries significant risk for both you and your baby. 

Complications that can impact your baby

If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may be at an increased risk of:

In the most extreme cases, gestational diabetes can result in stillbirth. 

Complications that can impact you

With gestational diabetes, you’re more likely to develop high blood pressure or preeclampsia, have a surgical delivery (cesarean section), or have diabetes in the future.

If you develop gestational diabetes, it’s not necessarily a reason to panic — gestational diabetes is manageable and treatable. Treatments include everything from close monitoring of your baby and lifestyle adjustments to medication and regular blood sugar testing. 

Don’t spend another day wondering how to keep you and your baby safe. Call or click to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dillman today. 

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