Gestational diabetes is a unique type of diabetes only diagnosed during pregnancy. It is diagnosed when your body has a problem managing the increased demand for insulin production, ending in high blood glucose levels.
Regular blood glucose level monitoring and a healthy lifestyle comprising of a wholesome diet and regular exercise are usually used to manage gestational diabetes. For some women, a lifestyle adjustment may not be enough, and they will require insulin injections for the rest of their pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually disappears after the baby is born. However, women who’ve had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
A healthy diet is perhaps the most important strategy for treating gestational diabetes. Women with the condition should avoid anything that spikes high blood glucose levels, such as large amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods. To prevent high blood glucose levels, you should:
- eat small amounts often
- spread your intake of meals evenly over the day
- avoid high GI foods such as:
- soft drinks
- sweets and lollies
- processed carbs like white flour, bread, pasta and rice
- bakery treats, pastries, cakes and biscuits
- junk food in general
Be on the lookout for hidden sugars in processed foods, be careful to look at the nutrition labels of anything in a can, bottle, packet or box!
Physical activity can also help to lower your blood sugar levels, so keeping up a regular exercise routine during pregnancy is vital. This doesn’t mean hitting the gym every day (unless that’s your jam!), walking or swimming are both great options for getting the body moving. A gentle half hour walk after eating will do wonders for avoiding a blood sugar spike!
Remember to check in with your doctor before starting any new form of exercise.