If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it can feel scary.

We have put together some key facts about the condition and helpful tips you can use to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, gestational diabetes is a condition found in women with high glucose levels during pregnancy but have never been diagnosed with diabetes before.

The most recent research shows that 6-9% of pregnancies today are affected by gestational diabetes.

While no one knows the exact cause of the condition, some doctors believe the hormones that help the baby develop also block insulin from being absorbed by the mother’s body. This type of insulin resistance is commonly found in patients diagnosed with prediabetes.

How will Gestational Diabetes affect your Baby?

This is often the burning question on the minds of most mothers-to-be. The good news is, you can relax.

Physicians at Mayo Clinic say gestational diabetes often occurs after the baby’s body is formed, greatly reducing the possibility of birth defects.

However, it’s necessary you take special care to keep your sugars under control. Sugar levels that are too high for too long can lead to a condition called macrosomia (newborn with high birth weight), which causes babies to experience high insulin levels and difficulty breathing at birth.

Just remember, well-controlled sugars do not lead to this. New studies have shown that babies with excess insulin in their bodies are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when they grow up.

Pregnant women doing excercise

Healthy-living Tips for Coping with Gestational Diabetes

Because gestational diabetes can affect you and your baby, it’s necessary to begin treatment immediately. Start by talking to your doctor. It can help put your mind at ease and allow you to develop a personalized plan for your diabetes management.

Healthy Eating:

One of the most important things you can do after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes is to develop and maintain a healthy eating plan. By talking to your doctor or diabetes educator, you’ll learn how to create a healthy balance of carbohydrates, lean proteins, and fresh produce in order to keep your sugar in control.

Stay Active:

In addition to eating well, it’s necessary to keep up with a regular exercise routine. Low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, or stationary cycling, are all healthy options that help you stay fit during pregnancy. Doctors recommend you get at least 30 minutes of activity, 5 days per week.

Monitor Sugars:

You’ll also want to make sure your glucose levels stay within a healthy range. You and your doctor should discuss what this means for you. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing your blood glucose before meals and 1 hour after you finish eating.

Summary Know that you aren’t alone. Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be scary, but you should remember that your partner, family, friends, and doctor are all on your team.
When you feel alone or confused, reach out to a loved one for support. You can also research local support groups to get in touch with other mothers-to-be experiencing the same challenges as you.

Disclaimer: Any information provided is not intended as medical advice. Iowa Diabetes is not responsible for any information from third parties.