Valentine’s Day Ideas for Gestational Diabetes

Having gestational diabetes (GDM) should not hinder couples from enjoying Valentine’s Day. Of course, chocolates and candies are already out of the picture, but those things do not comprise the whole of Valentine’s Day. The important thing here is to spend the day together, no matter what kind of activities you engage into. As a partner to a woman with gestational diabetes, moral and emotional support can go a long way in relieving stress caused by GDM. Here are some of the ways in which couples can enjoy each other’s company during the most romantic time of the year:

  1. Schedule a visit to the doctor together. Unlike other women with normal pregnancy, a woman with GDM would need extra prenatal visits to the doctor to monitor the baby and take care of you accordingly. Why not schedule a visit to the doctor with your partner on Valentine’s Day? This is a good way to promote bonding between couples, and also to involve the partner in the care of both the baby and soon-to-be mom. The woman will feel as if she is not alone in this phase of her life, and it would help her a great deal emotionally.
  2. Shop for cookbooks on gestational diabetes. For couples who love to cook, planning a meal together can be romantic. Do not make your partner feel alone by restricting her from eating foods with too much carbohydrates or simple sugars. Instead, try to plan your meals accordingly so that both of you enjoy delicious yet low sugar foods. Buying a cookbook exclusively catering to meals that are best for people with gestational diabetes is a good way to show your empathy towards your partner. And of course, don’t forget to cook these foods for her!  You can read more about our cookbook here – Gestational Diabetes Diet Meal Plan and Recipes: Your Guide To Controlling Blood Sugars & Weight Gain
  3. Learn about gestational diabetes. In order for you to be able to help your partner in coping with her condition, you also need to learn about what GDM is all about. You can schedule to attend a seminar about GDM so that you can learn about the different aspects of the condition. Another way is to buy books about GDM and read them together. Women with GDM can also share their feelings to their partners about the condition so that their partners will know how to act accordingly.
  4. Exercise together. Physical activity is also a part of GDM coping, since this can enhance the woman’s response to insulin, thus lowering her blood sugar levels. You can plan an exercise routine that both of you can do together, and then have the doctor approve it before executing it. A study made by the American Diabetes Association showed that women with GDM are more likely to stick to an exercise routine if they are being encouraged and supported by their partners.
  5. Do chores together. Traditionally speaking, women are supposed to do the household chores and responsibilities at home. But then, a woman with GDM easily gets fatigued because glucose is not readily converted into energy. What you can do is to help her in doing the chores at home so that she does not get tired easily. And for Valentine’s Day, why not volunteer to do the work altogether? Aside from helping her relieve her fatigue, you also make her feel like your queen. That, perhaps, is one of the most romantic gestures that you can do, far more romantic than chocolates and candies.  Trust me, she will really appreciate a night off from doing her regular “stuff”.

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Studies Show Gestational Diabetes Risk Increases with Every Pregnancy

Newborn

Newborn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People often say that each pregnancy is different. What you may experience during your first pregnancy may not be the same as your experiences in your subsequent pregnancies. However, a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that women with gestational diabetes during their first pregnancy have higher risks of developing the same condition in their subsequent pregnancies. In fact, according to this study, the risk increases with each pregnancy.

In the research, 65,132 first-time pregnant women with gestational diabetes were used as the sample population by a group of researchers led by Dr. Darius Getahun. One of the findings was that the risk of these women getting gestational diabetes during their second pregnancy is 13.2% increased. There is also an increase of 6.3% in the third pregnancy of women who initially had gestational diabetes but did not suffer from the condition during their second pregnancies. Those who have experienced gestational diabetes during the first and second pregnancies had a 26% risk for developing the same condition during the third pregnancy. Getahun was quick to point out that having gestational diabetes during the first pregnancy already means that the woman will likely also have the same condition in her second pregnancy.

Aside from the aforementioned risks, women with gestational diabetes are also at risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. That is why it is highly recommended by the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology for women with gestational diabetes to undergo counseling when it comes to lifestyle modifications, like diet, exercise, and weight loss or maintenance.

One of the limitations of the study was that the researchers did not look into other lifestyle factors that may have had contributed to a woman’s increased risk on gestational diabetes. They did not consider that the obesity of a woman can actually contribute in increasing the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Instead, the researchers recommend that early identification of pregnant women who are at risk for developing gestational diabetes and timely postpartum care should be exercised so as to prevent gestational diabetes and other adverse pregnancy situations from happening.

The study also showed that a person’s race or ethnicity may play a role in the return of gestational diabetes. According to the survey in the said study, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific islander women had the highest risk of developing gestational diabetes among other races. This can be due to the fact that the food in these races contains a high glycemic index, which means that they easily affect the levels of glucose in the bloodstream, thus causing sudden spikes.

According to Dr. Manju Monga of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, the findings in the aforementioned study reflect consistency in the results of more recent studies as of late.

As a recommendation, Dr. Monga further advises women with gestational diabetes to have themselves screened for type 2 diabetes after six months of giving birth. This will give them a head start on modifying their lifestyle to avoid developing type 2 diabetes later on in life.

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Medical Costs For Gestational Diabetes Higher, But At What Price?

I came across a recently released study today, and I was shocked to find out:

From the sample of 4,372 women, those with a diagnosis of GDM were almost twice as likely to undergo an emergency caesarean section, and their infants were three times more likely to be admitted to a neonatal unit. The resulting maternity care costs, specifically calculated by sampling patients from the public healthcare system, were increased by 34%.Of the other variables included in the analysis, maternal obesity was found to increase costs by 21%.

“Aside from the serious health implications, GDM is also placing a substantial economic burden on maternity care costs. This burden is likely to rise in the future if current practices remain unchanged given projected increases in GDM prevalence rates. However, what our study really highlights are the potential cost savings which may go to offset the costs of interventions that aim to prevent the onset of GDM in pregnancy,” explains Dr Paddy Gillespie, from the School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway.

http://www.healthcanal.com/pregnancy-childbirth/35205-Maternity-Care-Costs-for-Pregnant-Women-with-Gestational-Diabetes-are-Higher.html

Wow!  Obesity and gestational diabetes – two words I don’t want to hear as a mom-to-be.  But, when you look further into this study, you see it says that the costs can be reduced by the additional testing that is being required by our (US) new health care laws.  By the requirement to test all moms for gestational diabetes, we find out sooner that they have or don’t have the disease.

If you know you have gestational diabetes, you are going to do what you need to do to get your baby and you through the pregnancy in a healthy way.  You will probably buy my book on gestational diabetes meal planning: Gestational Diabetes Diet Meal Plan and Recipes: Your Guide To Controlling Blood Sugars & Weight Gain

That book is really helpful, by the way.  But many women find out too late that they have gestational diabetes because they don’t get tested.  Then the baby ends up too big, mom gains a lot of weight, and they have an emergency c-section.  Not fun.  So, embrace the idea that knowing is half the battle, and I congratulate you on finding out more information so you are best equipped to deal with this disease.

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Signs Of Gestational Diabetes: How Do I Know?

Signs Of Gestational Diabetes: How Do I Know?

What Are The Signs Of Gestational Diabetes?

During a normal pregnancy, after a woman eats, the food is broken down in the digestive tract and releases protein, fats and sugars.  Then, with the help of insulin your body produces, the glucose enters the blood stream and is used by the cells as fuel. Unfortunately, sometimes in pregnancy the hormonal changes make the cells less responsive to the insulin.  When the body can’t keep up with the increased amount of insulin, the glucose level in the blood gets too high resulting in you seeing signs of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that either starts during a pregnancy or is first diagnosed during pregnancy.

Signs Of Gestational Diabetes Are Sometimes Called Symptoms

Generally if a pregnant woman has symptoms, they are not life threatening. However, if a pregnant woman does have symptoms she should advise her doctor. Some symptoms include blurred vision, increased thirst and weight loss.

During pregnancy, it’s common for an expectant mom to feel fatigue because of her body is continuing changing to nourish the growing fetus. However, the fatigue could also be a sign that her body not metabolizing sugar properly. That is a major indicator of gestational diabetes. It’s also common for a pregnant women to get a skin, bladder or vaginal infection because of the changing hormones. However, constant reoccurring infections is a sign of gestational diabetes and should be discussed with a doctor.

The good news is that for most women, signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes disappear after giving birth.

Signs Of Gestational Diabetes Are Confirmed With A Test

As part of routine tests, pregnant women will receive an blood test between week 24 and week 28. Higher risk women are tested earlier. One hour before the blood is drawn, the mother is given a sweet drink.  If the blood has a high sugar content when it is drawn, it may indicate that your body is not processing sugar as it should. After a positive test, the doctor will order a glucose tolerance test to measure the baseline and over 3 hours of fasting blood glucose levels.   Once the condition is confirmed, in addition to the doctor’s office, expectant mothers can monitor their condition at home using a glucose monitoring machine.

Treatment For Gestational Diabetes

Diet and exercise are the best methods to treat this condition. Together they will help keep the blood sugar level within an acceptable range. It’s important to read food labels and eat a variety of healthy foods. The diet should be moderate in protein and moderate in fat. High-sugar foods, pastries, fruit juices and soft drink should be used sparingly.  Using a gestational diabetes meal plan is the best choice for your ease and your health.  Learn more about our meal planning solution on this page.

All carbohydrates should come through complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as rice, pasta, bread and cereal. In rare cases when diet and exercise is not enough to control the blood sugar level, the doctor will prescribe oral diabetes medicine or insulin therapy.

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms: Do You Have Them?

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms: Do You Have Them?

What is Gestational Diabetes?gestational diabetes symptoms

This is a specific type of diabetes that occurs in women during pregnancy. Basically, it is caused by hormones that occur during pregnancy that block insulin from doing its job in breaking down blood sugar. This leads to a condition of diabetes that a woman may have when pregnant, and usually clears up once the child is born.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

The symptoms that will be experienced are much the same as with diabetes in general. You can have an increase in thirst. There will also be an increase in the frequency of urination that is disproportional to the amount of liquids that are consumed. Fatigue will set in with occasional blurred vision. Nausea and weight loss can also be symptoms of gestational diabetes. Many of these symptoms can be mild and easily confused with the effects of being pregnant.

Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes

The symptoms alone are not enough to indicate a problem. In fact, because they are often so mild, they usually mean nothing, but when accompanied by risk factors, your health care provider needs to be informed. Among these factors are having diabetes in your family, being overweight before your pregnancy and having high blood pressure. A doctor can look at your medical history to determine what other factors may be applicable to your pregnancy.

Why Treatment is Needed for Gestational Diabetes

For the sake of the child as well as the mother, this type of diabetes needs to be controlled. Doctors will usually test pregnant women by the 24th week.  Without a diagnosis and treatment, a woman can give birth to a baby that is much larger than it would normally have been with complications. In many cases, the baby will not be able to be born vaginally. This increase in size is due to the high levels of sugar in the mother’s blood. This provides much greater energy than a baby requires for normal growth. A baby will often have a condition of low blood sugar levels after birth. This is due to the baby’s pancreas producing high levels of insulin in response to the mother’s blood sugar, then at birth the amount of sugar in the child’s blood is suddenly low so they need additional sugar water or breastmilk at birth.

The Fundamental Treatment for Gestational Diabetes

There are several treatments used to control gestational diabetes, but fundamental to all of them is with diet. In fact, with a proper diet and monitoring of your blood sugar, most women can keep the problem under control. In general, a diet that is low to moderate in both fat and protein is needed. Carbohydrates are obtained from fruits and whole grains. All food with sugar is avoided or completely eliminated such as soda pop, candy, donuts and other sugary snacks.

gestational diabetes symptomsThere are medications that can be prescribed to a pregnant woman to keep her blood sugar levels from getting too high, but these should not be used to control high blood sugar levels that come from eating the wrong foods. It is much healthier for you and your baby to eat right to begin with.

You can learn more about a gestational diabetes diet from our meal planning solution that is a kit put together to guide you through your gestational diabetes and help you improve your health.  Click here to find out more.

Gestational Diabetes Complications – Learn about the 5 Most Common Complications During Pregnancy [Are You at Risk?]

During your pregnancy, with every visit to your doctor you grow more excited about having a new baby.  You may have a few worries, but with gestational diabetes, you can have more complications than normal.  Being aware of what the complications are can help you recognize when they may be occurring and call your doctor if necessary.

One of the most common of the gestational diabetes complications is having a larger than normal baby.  This puts you as the mom more likely to gain too much weight.  When your blood sugar is continually high as is the case with uncontrolled gestational diabetes, your baby’s blood sugar is also high.  The baby grows larger than normal because it is getting excess calories and its body puts those extra calories into fat storage.

Another of the most common gestational diabetes complications is having to have a C-section.  At delivery, if the baby is too large, you may be unable to have a regular birth.  C-sections can cost more money because they are an actual operation.  They also increase the recovery time for mom to an average of 6 weeks.  With the new baby, recovering from a C-section can be difficult.

Thirdly, more important gestational diabetes complications can arise related to high blood pressure, which can also lead to preeclampsia.  Preeclampsia is usually shown by swelling in your hands and feet it will go away and excess protein in your urine tests which indicates kidney damage.  High blood pressure could eventually lead to seizures.  Women with gestational diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy tend to have high blood pressure more often.

Hypoglycemia is part of multifaceted group of gestational diabetes complications and can lead to a great number of problems.  Your obstetrician may place you on insulin or another medication to help you control your blood sugars to help reduce further complications.  If you happen to forget to eat but have taken your insulin for the day or the meal, your blood sugar might get dangerously low.  It’s important to check your blood sugar throughout the day as recommended by your doctor.

Finally, developing diabetes later in life is one of the most common gestational diabetes complications.  Women who have gestational diabetes during their pregnancy are at twice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years.  A great way to reduce your risk is through controlling your gestational diabetes and periodically having checkups where your doctor monitors your blood sugar levels about every 3 years.

If you follow a healthy meal plan and eat on a regular basis throughout the day, you can avoid, or at least reduce the risk of many of the complications associated with gestational diabetes.  Learning more about the disease can help you control these gestational diabetes complications, read more in our email series.  Go there now and sign up for more information.