Gestational Diabetes and a Healthy Pregnancy

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What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational Diabetes and a Healthy Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. For most women, the high blood sugars gradually disappear following birth of the baby, though some do continue to need a diabetic plan to manage blood sugars, long-term.

The body goes through many changes during pregnancy, including hormonal fluctuations, changes in blood volume, fluid shifts within the different spaces in the body and, of course, weight gain. When you look at the contributing factors for diabetes, it almost makes sense that some women would be effected:

* obesity - weight gain is normal during pregnancy
* high blood pressure - extra fluid volume in the body, geared to
compensate for the additional person, can lead to high blood pressure in
some women
* hormonal fluctuations resulting in changes in blood sugar levels - some
hormones directly impact how the body processes sugars
* dietary changes - many women experience cravings for high salt or high sugar foods during pregnancy, which impact fluid levels (blood
pressure) and blood sugar
* family history of gestational diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes

Like any major life change, having a healthy pregnancy requires planning and active intervention.

For women with existing risk factors, such as family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and/or obesity, it is vital that they:

* find an obstetrician early in the pregnancy to do baseline evaluation
and develop a pregnancy plan
* monitor weight closely for any sudden weight spikes or drops
* be alert for changes in vision, sensations in the hands and feet and
urination patterns (though frequent urination late in pregnancy is
normal, it is not as common in early pregnancy)
* follow a healthy diet plan balancing fats, carbs and proteins
* drink at least 30 ml (one ounce) of water for every 2.5 pounds of their
body weight - each day
* notify their obstetrician of any concerns, including:
- "floaters" - spots floating in the visual fields
- increased swelling of the hands, feet or face
- headaches or dizziness
- new onset nausea after the 1st trimester
- frequent urination

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you need to:

* follow your diabetic diet plan
* exercise
* keep hydrated
* monitor your blood sugars
* take your medication as prescribed
* communicate any changes to your
obstetrician

Though virtually any woman may experience gestational diabetes, knowing you are at risk gives you the edge in planning for a healthy pregnancy.

   

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