Thursday, November 23, 2017

Dealing With Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy

Right, Joel at his 16th birthday party in 2017, giving his brother Michael a big hug. When I was pregnant with him I had gestational diabetes. I did not have it again with any of my following four pregnancies. I was scheduled to be induced with Joel but went into labor naturally the night before.

Gestational diabetes is incredibly common in the United States, affecting around 16% of all pregnant mothers. Contrary to popular belief, this condition isn’t necessarily born out of poor diet or being overweight. Statistics show that only around half of affected women carry excess pounds, with many being predisposed to diabetes because of genetics, age or other factors.

Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be upsetting, but it’s important to remember that while it should be taken seriously, this condition is entirely treatable. Here are four tips to help you get through your diagnosis and ensure a healthy, happy pregnancy.

Get Organized

The first thing you should do after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD) is arrange an appointment with a diabetes specialist. While your physician can give you general advice about dealing with GD, you will need to consult an expert on how to manage your blood sugar levels. You will be given a special kit to help you test your own blood sugar, and you’ll be asked to monitor your food intake. Make sure you have a pouch or purse to carry your medical supplies around in, and ask your doctor for a sharps disposal bin so you can get rid of used needles. You should also dig out your kitchen scales – you’re going to need them to track your meals.

Expect More Medical Check-Ups

Now that you have GD, you will probably need to see your healthcare provider every two weeks for a blood test or urine sample, so set aside time in your schedule and alert your boss to your change in circumstances. Around 85% of women diagnosed with GD can manage their condition through diet and exercise, but insulin is prescribed in some cases, and it may need to be administered during the birth.

In your final trimester (between weeks 28-40) you may have regular ultrasounds to check your baby’s movements and heartbeat and make sure he or she isn’t getting too big.

Adjust Your Birth Plan

Although GD is entirely treatable, it does need to be taken seriously – even if you’re feeling well. One of the worries associated with this condition is that the baby absorbs too much sugar, causing him or her to grow at a higher rate or be born prematurely. Your healthcare provider will keep tabs on your baby’s growth rate throughout your pregnancy, but be advised that your birth plan may change. If your baby grows too large, you may be scheduled for an induction after 37 weeks or booked in for a caesarian section.

Do Something Positive

Dealing with a restricted diet and regular blood tests on top of all the usual pregnancy worries can be stressful, so try to turn your experience into something positive. You could start a blog about your journey with GD, or arrange a monthly meet-up with other affected moms. You may even decide to turn your experience into a business helping other mothers take care of their health. If so, you can create free websites, social media banners and even a flyer design with Adobe’s free Spark software. Not only will having a project on the go encourage you to stay positive, but it will also keep you busy if you get laid up on bed rest.


Gestational diabetes may call for some lifestyle changes during pregnancy, but these adjustments to your diet and exercise routine will be better for your health overall. If you follow your doctor’s advice, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a healthy, happy pregnancy free from risk.  
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