Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy, even in women who don't already have diabetes. Every year, 2-10% of pregnancies in the US are affected by gestational diabetes. Managing gestational diabetes will help ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
What causes gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes occurs when your body can't make enough insulin to cater to the increased demands of pregnancy. Insulin, a hormone your pancreas produces, is vital to letting blood sugar into your body's cells for energy use.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes cause your body's cells to utilize insulin less effectively. When a pregnant mom's blood sugar levels become too high due to insulin resistance, it can result in gestational diabetes.*
During prenatal care, typically between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, most women undergo a glucose tolerance or glucose challenge test to diagnose gestational diabetes. It involves measuring blood sugar levels an hour after drinking a sweet solution. The result of this test helps determine the presence of gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is associated with several risks for the baby, such as a higher likelihood of needing NICU time, potential birth trauma due to increased size, jaundice, and respiratory issues. Additionally, delivering a larger baby may also increase the mother's risk of complications, including difficult labor, vaginal lacerations, or the need for an emergency cesarean section.
Common Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes
Various risk factors can increase a pregnant woman's chance of developing gestational diabetes. These include:
- Being over the age of 25
- Being obese or overweight before pregnancy
- Having high cholesterol levels or blood pressure
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Having previously given birth to a huge baby (weighing more than 9 pounds)
- Past diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Have had abnormal blood sugar tests before
- Had gestational diabetes in an earlier pregnancy
If you identify with any of these risk factors, it's important to discuss with your OBGYN your risk of developing gestational diabetes and explore preventative measures.
Can gestational diabetes be prevented?
While it's true that certain risk factors for gestational diabetes, like genetics and age, are beyond control, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of developing this condition during pregnancy. Here are 5 ways to help prevent gestational diabetes:
Eat a balanced and healthy diet
Women, especially pregnant moms, are generally advised to maintain a balanced diet during pregnancy. Ensure you consume various healthy foods, including lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Avoid sugary drinks, foods, and even supplements like prenatal gummies to help keep your blood sugar levels in check. It's also important to eat regular, balanced meals to help maintain your blood sugar levels, so don't skip meals for the sake of cutting your food intake.
Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight before and during pregnancy is one of the most effective ways to prevent gestational diabetes. Being overweight or obese may increase your risk of gestational diabetes and other complications during pregnancy.
If you are overweight, your OBGYN may advise you to lose weight before getting pregnant. Talk to your doctor about healthy weight gain during pregnancy if you are already pregnant. If you're not sure where to begin, a certified dietician can help.
Engage in physical activity
Regular exercise during pregnancy can help improve insulin sensitivity and maintain a healthy body weight. According to studies conducted on women with normal weight, 5 out of 100 pregnant women who did not get much exercise were diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus, compared to 3 out of 100 women who exercised more.
Doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity about 3-4 days per week is usually enough to lower blood sugar levels and shed those pregnancy pounds to get you better in shape. Suitable types of exercise include brisk walking, cycling, and swimming. Of course, talking to your doctor about an appropriate exercise plan during pregnancy is essential before starting a new exercise routine.
Monitor blood sugar
Monitoring your blood sugar levels is another way to prevent gestational diabetes. During your pregnancy, your OBGYN may advise you to have a screening test for gestational diabetes. You may need to undergo additional tests if you are at high risk for gestational diabetes.
You can monitor your blood sugar levels at home using an at-home blood glucose meter before and after meals, or if you have access, try a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
Consult your OB
Consulting with your OB/GYN is crucial for managing and preventing gestational diabetes. They can provide personalized advice and create a treatment plan that includes lifestyle interventions in pregnancy tailored to address your unique health needs and risk factors, such as dietary recommendations, regular blood sugar monitoring, and an exercise plan during pregnancy. They may also prescribe supplements to prevent gestational diabetes.
If you are diagnosed with GDM, your healthcare team will work closely with you to manage your blood sugar levels and keep them within a healthy range.
Can prenatal supplement help with gestational diabetes?
Prenatal supplements can play a significant role in preventing and managing gestational diabetes, as long as you make wise choices. *Some prenatal vitamins, especially gummies, can contain unhealthy added sugars, which could contribute to elevated blood sugar levels—precisely what you want to avoid when there's a concern for gestational diabetes.*
Moreover, these sugary options often lack vital nutrients, including iron, which plays a crucial role in preventing anemia and supporting fetal growth.*
So, what makes Root'd one of the best supplements for gestational diabetes?
Root'd is packed with a healthful blend of essential vitamins and minerals tailored to support a healthy pregnancy. Our prenatal MULTI goes the extra mile by including a bounty of superfoods, probiotics, and enzymes—all vital for your over all wellbeing and your developing baby.*
Hydration is another key factor in managing gestational diabetes, and Root'd contains sugar-free electrolytes that aid in hydration, helping to keep your blood sugar levels steady. *With Root'd, you can have peace of mind knowing that your body gets extra nutritional and hydration support, without the added risk of spiking your blood sugar.*
Get Root'd today and step into a healthier pregnancy with a trusted partner by your side. Use code HealthyBaby for 15% off your first order @ https://rootd.com. With free shipping and our 100% love guarantee, we got you covered with all the essential vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and probiotics you + baby need to help you develop beautifully.
We, your Root'd fam, are always here to support and empower you with the knowledge to make the best choices for your new chapter in motherhood. Leave a comment if you find this blog helpful, or drop any questions below, and we’ll dive deeper!
Cheers to your health, and congratulations to your bundle of joy, Momma! 🥰🤱