Jan 24, 2013

How to Deal with Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects up to 5% of all pregnancies. Such condition arises for the first time during pregnancy, usually during the second or third trimester. Women who are overweight, have close family members with diabetes, or had gestational diabetes in previous pregnancies are at higher risks than others to develop this condition. Needless to say, it is important to treat gestational diabetes properly to ensure the health of yourself and your baby.

Choose the Right Food and Eat Regularly

Having gestational diabetes does not mean you have to starve yourself. A change in your diet patterns and on the type of food intake can normally bring about obvious improvements. In order to maintain your blood glucose on a steady level throughout the day, it is recommended that you eat regularly. Three small meals and three snacks (or even more), preferably at similar times every day, are advisable. It is also important not to miss any meal, as missing one meal would easily lead you to eat more in the next one and this can make your blood glucose level rocket.

As carbohydrate foods have the greatest impact on blood glucose levels, choosing the right type of foods is of paramount importance. The key here is to choose ‘slow-release’ carbohydrate foods whenever possible, as they are helpful in stabilising blood glucose levels. For example, swap white bread with wholegrain varieties such as granary or multigrain bread. Choose wholegrain rice or basmati instead of other varieties, and stick to high-fibre breakfast cereals such as porridge or oat flakes. In general, you should go for starchy, wholegrain foods that are high in fibre as much as possible. A smarter choice of food means you should not feel starved and can keep your sugar level under control.

While carbohydrate foods are the kind of food you need to pay particular attention to when you have gestational diabetes, it is important to bear in mind that you need to have a balanced diet so that the developing baby can get sufficient nutrients necessary for growth. The food pyramid provides a helpful guide on the recommended intake of different food groups and is particularly useful when you are pregnant.

Close Check on Blood Glucose Level

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your midwife or obstetrician would advise you to closely check your blood glucose level before and after meals. A blood glucose meter, such as One Touch Verio Pro, is needed. By keeping a close eye on your blood sugar levels before and after meals, you would be able to identify the types of food that are right for your body. If your blood glucose level is exceptionally high after one particular meal, it could be that the food you have just eaten has greater impact on you. You can then alter your diet and avoid that particular type of food the next time and see if your sugar level improves. Of course, if your blood sugar level remains consistently high, it is important to seek professional help from your midwife, obstetrician, or dietician.

Be Active

Apart from choosing the right kind of food, one effective way to keep your glucose level in control is to be more physically active. It is understandable that pregnant women might not have great stamina to engage in a lot of physical activities, especially in late pregnancy. However, you would be amazed to find out that even a little bit of moving about would help with your glucose level. Walking is the best – not only that it is said to be able to ease or even shorten your labour process, but also that a short walk of 15 to 20 minutes would help lower your sugar level.

Try to walk around for a short time after every meal, but if you are unable to do it, either because you are too exhausted or are at work in the office, attempt to move about or stand for some time after a meal. For example, you can go up the stairs instead of taking the lift when you go back to work after lunch, or do some washing up and household chores after dinner at home. The key thing to remember is: do not lie down or sleep right away after a meal.

Be Relaxed

Your mental state does have an impact on your glucose level. Evidence has shown that when you are stressed, it is more likely that your blood sugar would rise. It is because stress hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol would kick in when you are stressed, and one of their main functions is to raise blood sugar to boost energy when it is needed. While it is natural to feel concerned or stressed about the health of yourself and your baby, try to be relaxed and not worry too much. It is after all always best for mothers-to-be, whether they have gestational diabetes or not, to feel relaxed and optimistic.

This Article is written by Fiona H.W. Wong and posted by blogger guest.


I'm totally agree with your suggestions and tips that you gave. Balancing your daily diet and regular exercise can make a big difference and prevent a patient from further damage.

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