Tips For Controlling Gestational Diabetes

Tips For Controlling Gestational Diabetes

tips for controlling gestational diabetesGestational diabetes are two words that no soon to be mother wants to hear. Mothers are already carrying extra stress and worry for their unborn child without the added burden of a medical issue. Luckily, however, gestational diabetes is not as worrisome of a condition as it once was. In fact, with the right treatment and consistent monitoring from mom to be, mothers can enjoy a happy, healthy, and relatively normal pregnancy even with gestational diabetes.

Here are some tips for controlling gestational diabetes:

Watch What You Eat

When you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, one major thing that the doctor might stress is diet control. In some cases, medication is needed, but most instances of gestational diabetes are controlled through diet and exercise. What you eat has a big affect on your blood glucose levels, so you will need to pay special attention to what and how often you eat.

Your doctor will likely recommend multiple small meals throughout the day that are high in fiber and protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates. You should also drink plenty of water throughout the day and supplement your diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Get Moving

Exercise is another part of healthy living that becomes extra important for mothers with gestational diabetes. It is highly recommended that you get active during your pregnancy, of course within the parameters set by your doctors.

Generally in the first trimester it is safe for you to engage in normal and fairly high impact exercises like running and aerobics. As you progress into your pregnancy you may need to move on to lighter impact activities such as walking, swimming, and yoga. Always discuss exercises with your doctor before starting an exercise routine or trying anything new.

Follow Up With Doctors

Throughout your pregnancy, you will have routine checkups, blood work, and other appointments you need to follow up with. If at all possible, you should never skip appointments and you should follow all instructions given to you by your doctor.

If your gestational diabetes requires that you take medications, it is necessary that you follow instructions and take those medications as directed. Not doing so could cause complications for both you and your baby.

Test Regularly

Mothers with gestational diabetes are often required to test their own blood sugar levels regularly. This is usually a daily occurrence, sometimes more. While the idea of pricking yourself with a needle might be unpleasant, you will learn soon enough that it isn’t that bad, and it is very important that you follow through with testing regularly.

Overall, the key to controlling gestational diabetes is you. Simply following doctors’ orders when it comes to food and medications, keeping a healthy exercise regimen, testing blood glucose regularly, and maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle all around are the best way to control gestational diabetes. You might be feeling scared right now if you were just diagnosed, but understand that gestational diabetes does not mean that you cannot have a healthy and happy pregnancy. Information is the key, please click around my blog for more information.

Tips For Monitoring Blood Sugar Throughout Your Pregnancy

Tips For Monitoring Blood Sugar Throughout Your Pregnancy

Monitoring Blood Sugar Throughout PregnancyGestational diabetes is a fairly rare occurrence where blood sugar levels become raised and/or unstable during pregnancy. It used to be a very scary condition where mothers had to worry about the health of their pregnancies and childbirth became something to fear. Luckily, medicine has advanced so much that gestational diabetes is easily controlled and mothers with this condition can maintain happy and healthy pregnancies.

 

Gestational diabetes relies mostly on a controlled diet to keep blood glucose levels stable, as well as regular exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle. In very few cases, medication is also needed to regulate blood sugar levels. Keeping track of blood glucose levels is an important part of monitoring gestational diabetes.

Here are some tips for monitoring your blood sugar throughout pregnancy with gestational diabetes:

Be Prepared: Always have your testing supplies with you at all times. You never know when you are going to get stuck at the office, or if a situation comes up where you will need to test your blood sugar. It might be a good idea to have an extra meter and supplies at your office, or keep them in your purse with you in the event that you need them.

Calibrate: While many of the newer models have advanced to not need calibration and are super accurate, you want to make sure your testing monitor is working properly. It wouldn’t hurt to take your monitoring equipment with you to your doctor’s office and test it against theirs. This can help make sure you are getting an accurate reading.

Be Consistent: Depending on your specific case and what is recommended by your physician, you will need to test your blood sugar anywhere from three to six times per day. Set an alarm or timer to remind you to check your blood sugar at these particular times so you are doing so at the same time every day.

Write It Down: Some people only write down their blood sugar measurements when they are abnormal, so they can report it to their doctors. It is really best to write down all of your results every time you test, every day. Keep a running log of your blood sugar results so that if you ever have something abnormal happen, you have documentation of all your previous tests.

Testing Methods: Testing your blood sugar up to six times a day can mean having to prick your fingers as many times in a day, every day. While the prick itself isn’t all that painful, the repeated testing can cause some discomfort. Here are some tips for more comfortable testing methods:

  • Always prick the insides of your fingers, not the sides. Not only will testing hurt less, but the pads of your fingers won’t be as sore.
  • Wash your hands with warm water before testing, not just to clean and disinfect the testing area, but also to get the blood moving to your fingers. It will be less painful and the blood will come easier.
  • Alternate which finger you use regularly. For each testing, use a different finger and then rotate. This will give each prick site more time to heal.

With these tips, testing and monitoring blood sugar throughout pregnancy can become just another easy routine in your day. For more tips on your gestational diabetes check out my other blogs.

Gestational Diabetes Meal: Shape Up Your Plate

When you are planning out your gestational diabetes meal, creating a healthy yet well balanced meal is one of the most important parts of your process.

I am blogging about a gestational diabetes meal as part of National Nutrition Month, you can learn more at the Academy Of Nutrition and Dietetics website – http://www.eatright.org/nnm/ 

Gestational diabetes is a short term issue but can lead to long term problems because many women who have gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.  Keeping your meals in check throughout your pregnancy will lower your stress as well as improve your long term health if you keep eating the healthy way you learn during pregnancy.

One of the priorities for you, your unborn child and your doctor is to manage your blood sugars through what you eat at a gestational diabetes meal, medication and exercise.  Many women find that part of that management means some foods are limited based on their bodies and hormones.  Every woman’s body is unique and may react differently to the same foods.  But the foods that we are talking about when it comes to controlling your blood sugars are mainly carbohydrates.

What are carbohydrates and how do they affect your gestational diabetes meal?

Carbohydrates are the component of food that breaks down into glucose in your digestive system (stomach) and is absorbed into your blood stream as glucose.  They are part of a lot of foods, and can be composed of simple to complex molecules.  It is not that you should avoid carbohydrate – you need some of it!  But certain types of carbohydrate are going to cause your blood sugar to increase quickly while some are absorbed more slowly and lead to a lower peak in your glucose level.

Take for example, simple sugar.  The white stuff.  Or honey, which is concentrated sugar.  This will be absorbed quickly by your body and cause a spike in your blood sugar.  Because your body, as a gestational diabetic, does not handle the increase as well as someone who does not have diabetes, you will find that your sugar may stay high.  I know that many women avoid sweeteners during pregnancy, and that is your choice.  But consider that you really should avoid simple sugar unless it is part of a combined gestational diabetes meal that has protein and fat.

Better carbohydrate choices are going to be multi-grain foods and items that have a lot of fiber and are less processed.  Fruits instead of fruit juice.  The fiber slows the absorption of the food and allows your body to respond a little slower, which is good.  Eating whole grain pasta or wild rice instead of plain white rice is a good choice.  Whole grain wheat breads (make sure it has 2-3 gm of fiber per slice) make a much better choice than a slice of white bread.  Your body can usually break down white bread almost as quickly as simple sugar, and should be exchanged for whole grains in a gestational diabetes meal.

Portion sizes of the carbohydrate foods are very important, and most of us can underestimate our portion sizes when creating a gestational diabetes meal plate.  I recommend that you use a scale and weigh your food until you have a better awareness of how much is supposed to be a portion.  Usually – it’s about 1/3 cup on rice, and that is cooked rice – but it’s not very much!  Weigh out your cereal – a whole grain or bran type cereal – and see how big the bowl looks compared to the serving!  Add milk to it and you are adding more carbohydrate so watch the portion on that as well.

Shaping Up Your Gestational Diabetes Meal As a Complete Plan

So, controlling the amount of carbohydrate is tantamount to good blood sugar control for all of the gestational diabetes meal plans that you use.  I want to state again that complete avoidance of carbohydrate is not the answer.  You can eat a low carbohydrate diet, and by that I mean even as low as 30 gm of carbohydrate at meals, but you still have to eat some.  You and your baby need it, and not eating it at a gestational diabetes meal would be detrimental.

But you can help your body to process that carbohydrate more slowly by eating combined meals.  A “shaped up plate” would be one that has protein and fat foods on it as well.  So, you may find that you can eat 1/2 a sandwich with a good helping of meat and some mayonnaise for lunch and your blood sugar is under 130 at your 1 hour check.  Add some vegetables to that meal, maybe raw vegetables with a light ranch dip, and you have a good meal to start with.  You would probably not want to add chips to the gestational diabetes meal, but you could add another ounce of meat to your sandwich or create a nice side salad and have a full meal.  Some women even find that they can tolerate peanut butter and crackers for their evening snack and have a good blood sugar in the morning.

I think it’s important to realize that there are foods that will raise your blood sugars, and you need to eat some amounts of them at most of your gestational diabetes meal.  But combining them with protein and fat foods make them absorb slower and allow your body the chance to respond at it’s adjusted pace of insulin production.  For a gestational diabetic meal, you can have a healthy plate with a good portion of vegetables (green, orange or yellow) and some protein that will make a well rounded meal and keep you under control.

Other things affect your blood sugars, and you should be aware of them so you can note them in your blood sugar logs.  If you have a lot of stress, hormones that are released in your body can increase your blood sugar levels.  While you will never get your stress to zero, finding a way to reduce the amount of stress that you have is a priority.  The time of day can also play a big part in your blood sugars, as fasting blood sugars can be hard to control (but manageable with the adjustments of night time snacks) and hormones from your placenta may be released and cause an increase as well.  This is a big part of why every woman is going to be a little different when it comes to controlling your blood sugars.

Finally, exercise will help you keep your blood sugars down!  Something as simple as a walk right after you eat for 20 minutes will bring down your blood sugar levels because your body uses the sugar for energy.  It’s like a shot of insulin without the shot!

Consider your weight gain and the baby’s growth as two other important factors to determine if you are meeting your needs with what you eat at a gestational diabetes meal.  If you are in need of more information about how to follow a gestational diabetes diet meal plan, you can check out our meal plans – go there now.