Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It affects pregnant women who previously didn’t have diabetes and usually disappears after childbirth. However, it can pose risks to both the mother and the baby if not managed properly.
The exact cause of gestational diabetes is not known. However, it is believed to result from certain hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. These hormones can affect the insulin’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels adequately, leading to high blood sugar levels.
There are many reasons why a woman might suffer from gestational diabetes. Pregnancy hormones can interfere with the action of insulin, causing glucose to build up in the blood. Placental hormones can also increase insulin resistance, making it difficult for the body to use insulin effectively. However, family history of diabetes can be another reason for increase in the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy have a higher risk of gestational diabetes.The risk of gestational diabetes also increases with age, particularly for women over 25 years old. Lastly, having had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy increases the risk of developing it again. Keep reading as we share tips to help you lower risk of gestational diabetes.
9 Tips to help lower risk of gestational diabetes:
1. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight increases the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Aim to achieve and maintain a healthy weight before getting pregnant.
2. Exercise regularly
Engage in moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming, for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Regular physical activity can help lower the risk of gestational diabetes.
3. Eat a balanced diet
Focus on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit your intake of processed and sugary foods, which can raise blood sugar levels.
4. Control carbohydrate intake
Include complex carbohydrates in your meals, such as whole grains and legumes, which are digested more slowly, leading to stable blood sugar levels. Avoid simple carbohydrates, such as sugary drinks and refined grains.
5. Limit sugary beverages
Drinking water, herbal tea, or unsweetened drinks instead of sugary beverages helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
6. Monitor portion sizes
Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating at meals. This can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent excessive weight gain.
7. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water helps maintain proper hydration and supports overall health. Dehydration can affect blood sugar levels, so aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day.
8. Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can increase the risk of gestational diabetes. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to maintain hormonal balance and support overall health.
9. Regular prenatal care
Attend regular prenatal check-ups to monitor your health and your baby’s development. This ensures that any potential risk factors for gestational diabetes are identified and managed appropriately.
It’s important for pregnant women to undergo regular screenings for gestational diabetes to ensure early detection and appropriate management for the health of both the mother and the baby.