Diabetes in Pregnancy
A healthy pregnancy is a priority for every mother-to-be, but for women who have diabetes, including those who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, their health care can become more complex. You have a challenging road ahead of you, but the good news is that there’s a lot you can do to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Diabetes in Pregnancy – Complications
Women with diabetes who are diagnosed prior to pregnancy have a higher risk of complications, including miscarriage and birth defects. The good news is that with a plan, healthy strategies, and support, you can control your diabetes, have a healthy pregnancy, and deliver a healthy baby.
Here is how you can enjoy pregnancy even if you have diabetes:
- See your doctor before you get pregnant.
If you have diabetes and plan to conceive, you should talk to your doctor to make sure your A1C levels are normal, talk about medication if it’s necessary or ask to be referred to a nutritionist.
Get your HB A1C levels tested regularly. Book Test here.
- Lose weight.
One of the best ways to ensure you will have a healthy pregnancy is to make sure you start out at a normal weight. Eat a primarily plant-based diet, avoid excessive added sugars, preservatives, processed foods, and those high in saturated fats.
Exercise will help you metabolize food better, control blood glucose and help you control your weight during and after pregnancy. The CDC recommends pregnant women get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.
- Count carbs.
When planning your meals, know how many carbohydrates are in each food and limit the amount you eat because it will raise your blood sugar.
- Load up on veggies.
Vegetables are filled with phytonutrients and fill-you-up fibre, plus they aid digestion and prevent excess weight gain. They also are low calorie and low in carbohydrates, so they won’t affect your blood sugar. Non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, carrots, cucumber, and broccoli are all good choices.
- Cope with morning sickness.
Make sure you eat every two to three hours during the day to keep nausea at bay. If you take insulin or pills, eat a few saltine crackers before getting out of bed in the morning and then take your medication to make sure you can keep food down. A small source of fast-acting carbohydrates such as glucose tablets, honey, or juice can help if your blood glucose levels are low. Then have breakfast that includes a healthy protein source like eggs or plain Greek yoghurt.
- Deal with food aversions.
Try a fresh green vegetable juice, which is a good source of folate and calcium. This can control your appetite and prevent sugar cravings. Avoid juices with a lot of fruit because it can spike your blood sugar.
- Watch what you drink.
It’s important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during pregnancy. Be sure to avoid juice, soda, sports drinks and sweeteners in coffee and tea.
- Let yourself indulge.
It’s OK to enjoy a slice of pie or holiday cookies but take stock of the total amount of carbohydrates you’ll be eating with dessert and if you will need to compensate with medication. If you want dessert, consider having a salad instead of a sandwich as your meal, for example.
- Use technology.
Look for apps that help you log blood sugar, food or count carbs and sensors and continuous blood glucose monitors.
- Continue with care.
Studies show 35 to 60 per cent of women with gestational diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years. If you have gestational diabetes, it’s important to talk to your doctor about monitoring your blood glucose and making lifestyle changes after your pregnancy.
- Get support.
You might have misconceptions about diabetes in pregnancy, blame yourself or need advice. Seek out the help of a certified diabetes educator, a registered dietitian nutritionist who can help you create a realistic and delicious meal plan or a community of pregnant moms who have diabetes. It’s important to realize that you will need a plan, make healthy lifestyle choices for you and your baby and seek out information. But stick with it, and you can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
When suffering from diabetes in pregnancy, remember it’s important to work hard at achieving excellent control, remember that an occasional blood sugar that is higher than you like is not going to do long-term damage to your child. And if you feel yourself getting frustrated and burnt out, try to keep in mind some of the long-term benefits of all the hard work you’re putting into your pregnancy.
Need more information on diabetes and its related diseases? Ask Anya! Chat with Anya Bot here via Facebook and get more information on diabetes management.
Disclaimer: The above information has been prepared by a qualified medical professional and may not represent the practices followed universally. The suggestions listed in this article constitute relatively common advice given to patients, and since every patient is different, you are advised to consult your physician, if in doubt, before acting upon this information. Lupin Limited has only facilitated the distribution of this information to you in the interest of patient education and welfare.