If you've been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you may be concerned as to what you may be facing. But be reassured. The treatment of gestational diabetes is clear and simple.
The goal is to keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels at normal levels throughout your pregnancy. Your doctor will want to see you regularly and check the progress of your baby by fetal monitoring.
You may need to check your blood sugar levels in the morning and after each meal daily. This is done by pricking a finger and putting a drop of blood on a test strip in a blood glucose meter.
Resist the impulse to lose weight while you are pregnant. Eating well will help to keep your pregnancy weight gain to a reasonable amount.
Don't skip meals. Eat three meals a day, and make a point of having one or more snacks between meals. You should be eating about 300 more calories per day than you did before you became pregnant.
Make sure you're getting healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables. Any carbohydrates should be complex rather than simple carbohydrates. Avoid sugar. Cut back on fruit juice, soft drinks and desserts.
If you are vegetarian, or need a special diet due to health issues, be sure to keep your doctor informed about this. Your doctor will recommend nutritional supplements like prenatal vitamins, iron and/or calcium.
Regular exercise can help to lower your blood glucose levels. Exercise can also ease some of the pains and nuisances of pregnancy like back pain and muscle cramps, and swelling. You may also sleep better. And labor and delivery may be easier because your muscles are in better working condition.
Consider riding a bike, walking and swimming as regular exercise while you are pregnant. Activities like gardening and housecleaning contribute to keeping fit.
Sometimes dietary and lifestyle changes aren't sufficient to control blood sugar levels. If that is your situation, your doctor may give you a prescription for diabetes medication or insulin injections.
If your blood glucose levels get too high, your doctor may choose to induce labor or perform a cesarean section to prevent other complications. Your blood sugar levels will be monitored during labor and delivery whether labor begins naturally or by induction. Your blood sugar levels will likely begin to return to normal once your baby is born.
It's a good idea though to see your doctor regularly afterward, to watch for any indicators for type 2 diabetes. It can develop five to 10 years after gestational diabetes has occurred, particularly for women who are obese.
Breastfeeding your baby can help decrease your post-pregnancy weight, helping to avoid the specter of type 2 diabetes later. Your baby will also have a lower risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity if you breastfeed.
Gestational diabetes. Nlm.nih.gov. Web. October 8, 2011.
Gestational diabetes: Treatments and drugs. Mayoclinic.com. Web. October 8, 2011.
How To Treat Gestational Diabetes. Diabetes.org. Web. October 8, 2011.
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Reviewed October 10, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN