Preventing Gestational Diabetes

There are no guarantees when it comes to preventing gestational diabetes. Sometimes no matter what you do, you will still develop gestational diabetes.

Family and genetic history are a very strong factor in developing gestational diabetes. However, lifestyle and other factors have a great influence in the development of gestational diabetes. Taking control of these factors will go a long way in preventing gestational diabetes.

Be very proactive in your health habits and concentrate on being as healthy as you can be, do what you can with what you can control, and do not stress over the rest.

Take the responsibility to educate yourself on preventing gestational diabetes, or at least to minimize the risks. With this education, you will not be caught off-guard if you do actually develop gestational diabetes.

Furthermore knowing as much about the disease as you can, you will minimize or totally nullify its affects, thus avoiding many of the complications.

If ever there is a time for extremely careful attention to health habits, it is during pregnancy.

Do as much as you can to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Your baby is depending on you!
Be as proactive as heck in preventing gestational diabetes, to minimize many of the health risks as much as you can!

By reducing your risk of gestational diabetes, you are helping yourself and your baby.


The Basics of Preventing Gestational Diabetes

By keeping this information in mind, you will stand a much greater chance at preventing gestational diabetes.

It is simply: "Make healthy choices every day" OK, maybe that sounds too simple, but it really is not! Simple it may be, but easy it surely is not.
It is up to you how easy or difficult you want to make it for yourself.

Preventing gestational diabetes boils down to this:

Eat healthy foods.

  • Choose foods low in fat and calories.
  • Eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without compromising taste or nutrition.
  • A dietitian can help you design a meal plan.
  • Eat three meals per day of the same size and at the same time.
  • Have a small snack between each meal as well as a late night snack.

Get more physical activity.

  • Will promote a sense of well being and can help to reduce blood sugar levels.
  • Exercising before and during pregnancy has shown to help protect against developing gestational diabetes, including those with a history of gestational diabetes.
  • Exercise regularly and ensure that you lead an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • At least 30 minutes of activity that gets you breathless each day, are recommended by the Department of Health.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day.
  • Take a brisk daily walk.
  • Ride your bike.
  • Swim laps.
  • If you cannot fit in a long workout, break it up into smaller sessions spread throughout the day.
  • Talk to your health care provider about designing a safe exercise program.

Lose excess pounds. (Only if you are NOT pregnant yet!)

  • Weight loss during pregnancy is not usually recommended. Lose those extra pounds before getting pregnant.
  • If you are still planning to get pregnant, losing weight may help you have a healthier pregnancy.
  • If you are already pregnant, talk to your doctor to clarify your weight-gain, weight-loss goals.
  • Focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits.
  • Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as:
  • A healthier heart.
  • More energy.
  • Improved self-esteem.
  • A sense of well being.
  • The more healthy habits you can adopt before pregnancy, the better.
  • It has been found that weight loss resulting from moderate exercise couple with healthy eating habits help delay or prevent the development of gestational diabetes, even those in the high-risk category, including those with a history of gestational diabetes.

Clearly, you have much to gain, and nothing to lose, by simply learning as much as you can about gestational diabetes and putting your knowledge into actions.

Believe that you can prevent gestational diabetes.
Self-sabotage is one of the major reasons why people do not succeed at living a healthy lifestyle. A self-defeating attitude can pave the way to the possibility of health complications and poor quality of life.
Be positive, what you think determines your actions.

The other inhibiting factor is reluctance to change. Most of us do not like things to change, we are comfortable with the way things are, even if it is not in our best interest.
When we try something new, it does not feel right, so we throw in the towel and go back to what is comfortable.

Consider this:

You are at a point in your life, with certain habits and ways. You arrived at this point in your life due to changes in your life. Mostly without your active participation in the decisions that led you here, nonetheless, it is changes.

The moral of this is, embrace the changes in your life, or it will embrace you. You decide on what changes are necessary and actively pursue it; otherwise, the changes will chase you, and overcome you.

Take it one step at a time, day by day, take it seriously and soon you will be living a healthier lifestyle.

Every morning, as you get up, resolve to do two things that day:

Eat healthy foods and do some physical activity.
Do this today, then again tomorrow, try it the next day and the next, until it becomes habit, as natural as brushing your teeth.

Then continue until it becomes second nature, as easy as breathing, then you will be comfortable with it and would not like it to change, ever.

Taking a very positive, proactive attitude towards healthy habits during pregnancy, can only help and not hurt, as long as the approach used is reasonable and safe.

What do you have to lose, except a possible diagnosis of gestational diabetes and all the trouble and hassles that come with it?


Prediabetes and
Preventing Gestational Diabetes

A diagnosis of prediabetes does not mean that you will get gestational diabetes. You can reduce your blood glucose levels to normal by following a low fat, low calorie diet, coupled with moderate exercise. Thus preventing gestational diabetes.

There are a few things that the prediabetic can do for preventing gestational diabetes:

Plan your pregnancy.

  • Use contraceptives until you are ready to increase your family.
  • When planning to get pregnant, talk to your doctor first.
  • Follow your doctor's recommendations for improving your health before the pregnancy.

Lifestyle changes.

  • Low-fat diet.
  • Moderate exercise.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Moderate or no alcohol consumption.
  • Maintain healthy body weight.

Take charge.

  • Take responsibility for your health.
  • It really is up to you.

Get support.

  • You are not alone.
  • Your family can be a great pillar of support.
  • Your doctor is your best supporter.
  • Approach dietitians or nutritionists for a personal diet plan.
  • Exercise counselors can develop an exercise regime suitable to your needs.

Before pregnancy.

  • The more healthy habits you can adopt before pregnancy, the better.
  • Get your prediabetes under control before you conceive.
  • Together, with your doctor, make a pregnancy plan to help prepare you physically, mentally and emotionally.
  • Maintain healthy body weight.
  • Exercise.

During pregnancy.

  • Continue with the good habits acquired during the planning phase.
  • Know what normal weight gain is during pregnancy.
  • Keep blood sugar levels in normal range.
  • Physical activity for 30 minutes per day.
  • Stick to the healthy diet plan of the dietitian or nutritionist.

Should I even try
Preventing Gestational Diabetes?

The answer is an overwhelming yes, you must be preventing gestational diabetes with everything at your disposal, because:

  • At the very least, you will be living a much healthier lifestyle, which is very beneficial for you.
  • Your "new" healthy lifestyle will result in a healthier pregnancy and a healthy, happy baby.
  • A healthier you, will give your baby the best possible start in life.
  • If you are successful at avoiding gestational diabetes, you have managed to avoid a whole lot of heartache, emotional stress and trouble.
  • With all the changes happening during your pregnancy, you can do without another issue.
  • Even being able to control the diabetes, you will still have times of adverse reactions and possible complications.
  • If you develop gestational diabetes, you would need to do all the healthy things that can help prevent the diabetes in any case, plus a whole lot more. Like regular testing blood samples. Believe me when I tell you that you do not get used to having your finger pricked for the blood sample. All you can do is to tolerate it.
  • Have a look at gestational diabetes complications and then tell me that you still do not see the point of trying to avoid it with everything in your power.
  • If you do develop gestational diabetes, even though you have actively did all you can to avoid it, your newfound health habits will lessen the risk of having to inject yourself with insulin, which although tolerable, are annoying, inconvenient and painful at times.

Having the gestational diabetes "label" tends to make doctors extremely intervening about delivery practices.

  • Tend to use a very high rate of labor induction.
  • If it is only suspected that your baby is big, the doctor will be very quick to do an elective Cesarean.
  • Subject you to a lot more tests in the later stages of your pregnancy. Especially the last two weeks, and during the delivery.

Having a Cesarean section must not be taken lightly, because:

  • It is not easy to take care of a newborn while recovering from major abdominal surgery. It can be done, many women have done it, but that still does not make it any easier.
  • Statistically it is a riskier way of giving birth.
  • Tends to lessen the rate of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding in the first three months is extremely helpful in avoiding that your child develop diabetes later on.
  • Can also impede bonding with your baby.
  • Complications can occur, though it is rare.
  • Can put future pregnancies at risk.

If you are at a high risk to develop gestational diabetes, you might ask: "Why bother? Preventing gestational diabetes in my case would be fruitless exercise. It will also go away after the pregnancy. In any case I can still have a normal pregnancy with gestational diabetes, as long as I keep my blood sugar levels in the normal ranges."

The answer to that would be that no one knows for sure that it is possible in preventing gestational diabetes, especially with those with a high risk for the disease.
Since the outcome is unpredictable, I would reply: "Why not you? Why would it not be possible for you? You must do everything you can to prevent it!"

By applying the attitude of trying to prevent the disease, you will be better able to cope if you are unlucky to get the disease.

Being proactive will not work for everybody, some will still get gestational diabetes.
By being proactive you might not get it as severely, and you could certainly deal with the disease should you be diagnosed with it.

It is just plain common sense to be as careful and proactive as possible. It certainly means some sacrifices, like:

  • Foregoing nearly all sweets.
  • Cutting your consumption of junk foods.
  • Partaking in daily exercise.
  • More attention to what and how you eat.
  • Putting in extra effort towards the understanding of gestational diabetes.
  • Committing time and energy to the proactive care for childbirth in general.

Is your baby's health not worth all that and much more?

Future

After you have your baby, you can do a lot to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, even prevent future gestational diabetes.
It all boils down to doing the same things you did in preventing gestational diabetes.

Now is the time to continue with the healthy habits that you have acquired during your pregnancy, it just makes sense to do that.

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study found that weight loss with a low-fat, low-calorie diet coupled with moderate exercise helped delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes even in high-risk patients, including those with a history of gestational diabetes and those with prediabetes.

Reach and maintain a reasonable weight. Even if you stay above your ideal weight, losing just a few pounds will make big difference.

Maintaining a healthy weight in your child will lower the risk of your child developing diabetes.
Make this easy for your child by instilling healthy habits from an early age; the best way to do this is by being an example.

Breastfeeding can also help in preventing the onset of diabetes in your child.

Get tested for diabetes six weeks after the delivery and then every 6-12 months after that, for the rest of your life.
The earlier that diabetes is diagnosed, the better the possible complications can be prevented.


Parting Thoughts

The prevention of gestational diabetes is not guaranteed, however a positive, proactive attitude will go a long way towards preventing gestational diabetes, and help in minimizing the affects if you do develop gestational diabetes.

All it requires is to make healthy choices, something that everybody should be doing in any case.

Do not neglect the good habits you have acquired during your pregnancy, keep on improving on it, for the rest of your life. Now is the time to instill a sense of healthy living in your child by being an example.

You have probably lapsed into doing some (or most) things wrong due to the way you were raised.
Change that cycle of not living correctly, by being an example and raise your child with better lifestyle values.

Be proactive, take charge, research and put your knowledge into action. It really is up to you.




› Preventing Gestational Diabetes


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