There’s nothing quite like a sugar-laden, chilled drink you get to down at the Ob-Gyn clinic halfway through your pregnancy…so refreshing or was it disgusting? I think the latter, and you know what I’m talking about if you’ve experienced the gestational diabetes screening that happens between 24 and 28 weeks. All you can do is hope for good results. The reason for the screening is because gestational diabetes can affect how your cells manage and control sugar which can also affect your health and the health of your baby. News of this problem is not something anyone wants to hear but it can be managed and doesn’t have to mean a third trimester of problems.
Why does gestational diabetes happen? There can be many reasons, of course, the first thing you think about is a poor diet of junk food and refined carbohydrates. This can be a contributing factor, without a doubt, but there are other causes of increased blood sugar and insulin resistance during pregnancy. Let’s review some risk factors and other possible causes.
- The mother’s starting pregnancy weight. If you are starting your pregnancy with a little extra weight and poor diet, this can be a contributor to gestational diabetes as your pregnancy develops.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or other underlying health conditions that affect insulin.
- Increased hormones during pregnancy can cause glucose to build in your blood which stresses your pancreas and it can be difficult for it to keep up with the demands.
There are preventative measures you can take before you get pregnant and even some you can easily do while you are pregnant. The easiest place to start is with your sleep hygiene. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. Your hormones will thank you, your metabolism will be ready to go and stress levels reduced. It may not be as easy, but of great importance, be mindful of your diet. Pregnancy is not the time to stress your body even more with reduced calories but making better choices is important. Get plenty of leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Make sure you spend a little time in the sun each day to keep your Vitamin D stores full. Eating plenty of fiber, complex carbs and at least 20% protein is a good, balanced diet and don’t forget the healthy fats. Fat helps us feel fuller longer but not only that, it is a critical component in moving vital nutrients through our system like Vitamins A, D, E, and K…to name just a few.
Another important way to control your blood sugars is to get up and move. Not everyone can get to the gym for an hour a day but it’s okay to break up your exercise into smaller snippets of time. 20 minutes in the morning, a quick walk around the block and again in the evening not only helps you physically but reduces stress and improves our mental health as well.
Don’t distress if you get a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. There is so much you can do to be proactive and turn your health around, for you and your baby. Make sure you spend as much time as you need visiting with one of our knowledgeable providers at Madison Women’s Clinic, who can reassure you and help you get on the right track.