Why Should I Care if I Have Gestational Diabetes?

Why Should I Care if I Have Gestational Diabetes?

Since gestational diabetes only occurs to pregnant women, most women have no idea what this means. Although many are familiar with what diabetes is in general, they do not know what to expect when it comes to gestational diabetes. Questions plague the mind of a woman who is newly-diagnosed with gestational diabetes: Is it the same as the common type 2 diabetes? What are its effects on me and my baby? Should I be alarmed? Should I even care? The answer to the last question is very simple: Yes, you should care. Just like any other types of diseases, you should take some precautionary measures if you are diagnosed with this condition. In order to help you understand the gravity to the situation, here are some information on what gestational diabetes is.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a condition that manifests only during pregnancy. Just like the more commonly known diabetes type 2, gestational diabetes involves an increase in blood glucose or sugar levels. This is because the body cannot produce adequate amounts of insulin to match the glucose intake of the pregnant woman, since a pregnant woman’s insulin needs is multiplied to two or three times the normal insulin requirement. Moreover, a pregnant woman releases certain hormones that antagonize the action of insulin. Hence, control of blood sugar is important for women with gestational diabetes.

What are the effects of gestational diabetes?

So what if you have gestational diabetes? Remember that since you are carrying a child in your womb, this means that the effects of gestational diabetes might not only manifest on you, but also on your child. Glucose can cross the placental barrier since this is the main source of nutrients for your growing fetus. The child of a mother with gestational diabetes tends to be larger in size because of the amount of glucose that they get. This can pose some problems during delivery. If the baby is already too large before it becomes term, this might prompt the doctor to deliver the baby prematurely. If the baby reaches full term, s/he may be delivered via Caesarean section because s/he cannot fit inside the birth canal. Normal spontaneous delivery might injure the baby. Moreover, your baby can have periods of hypoglycemia during his/her first few days since his/her pancreas have gotten used to producing large amounts of insulin while still in the womb.

You can become affected as well. Those who have gestational diabetes have higher risks of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy because of the thick consistency of the blood. Hypertension during pregnancy, also known as preeclampsia, is a life-threatening condition for both the mother and the baby.

Based on the aforementioned effects, pregnant women should definitely care about their condition. Controlling blood sugar levels is of utmost importance to prevent any unwanted incidents. That being said, proper diet that is low in sugar and enough exercise should be practiced by women with gestational diabetes during pregnancy. If you want to learn more about the dietary recommendations for gestational diabetes and other related information, sign up for our newsletter.

My One Hour Glucose Tolerance Test Reading Was High

My One Hour Glucose Tolerance Test was High

Do I Have Gestational Diabetes?

Once you are suspected to have gestational diabetes, you will be subjected to an oral glucose tolerance test to determine whether or not you really have gestational diabetes. For most women who are going to undergo this test, this can be nerve-racking as they do not know what to expect. Hence, it is very important to educate yourself regarding the glucose tolerance test so that you know the preparation, the procedure, and the normal values for the test results. This will also prevent you from subjecting yourself to undue stress that might adversely affect your baby.

What is the one hour glucose tolerance test?

The oral glucose tolerance test, also known as the one-hour glucose challenge test, is administered between weeks 24 and 28 of your pregnancy. This test will initially determine whether or not you are at risk for developing gestational diabetes. The results of this test are not conclusive, for a high value is still subject to a confirmatory test, the three-hour glucose tolerance test. A high value in this test means that you indeed have gestational diabetes.

How do I prepare for the one hour glucose tolerance test?

For the one-hour glucose tolerance test, there is no preparation required. You can take it right there and then since no fasting is needed. However, if you are going to undergo the three-hour glucose tolerance test, you need to fast for 10 to 14 hours before the test. You should also refrain from drinking or eating anything during the three-hour duration of the test.

What happens in the one hour glucose tolerance test?

one hour glucose tolerance testIn the one-hour oral glucose tolerance test, you will be asked to drink a sugary beverage that contains 50 grams of glucose. After finishing the drink, your doctor will wait for one hour before testing your blood glucose levels. During this one hour, you cannot eat or drink anything. After one hour, your doctor will extract a blood sample from you and compare your values with that of the normal range. If your blood sugar level is less than 130 mg/dl, this means that you do not have gestational diabetes and you will not be subjected to any more tests. However, once the value exceeds 130 mg/dl, you might have gestational diabetes, but the doctor needs to make sure first. Hence, you will be subjected to the three-hour glucose tolerance test. This means that the results of the one-hour glucose tolerance test only determine the possibility of having gestational diabetes, but they do not establish the fact that you really have gestational diabetes.

Once you are subjected to the three-hour glucose tolerance test, your doctor will first draw a blood sample after your 14-hour fasting. Next, you will be asked to drink a sugary liquid containing 100 grams of glucose, then have your blood samples taken one, two, and three hours after finishing the drink. This means that your blood sample will be taken for a total of four times. The normal values for this test should be 95 mg/dl for your fasting blood sugar, 180 mg/dl after one hour, 155 mg/dl for two hours, and 140 mg/dl for three hours. Any two values exceeding this range confirm your condition of gestational diabetes.

You can learn more about gestational diabetes and its diagnostic tests by subscribing to our newsletter and receiving my ebook for free.

If you believe you will eventually be diagnosed with gestational diabetes due to your one hour glucose tolerance test then please consider buying my book on meal planning for gestational diabetes from the trusted source below Amazon…

How is Gestational Diabetes Treated?

How is Gestational Diabetes Treated?

Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes is not the end of the world. Although the word “diabetes” might seem imposing to you since it is a chronic condition, remember that you can still do something about your condition because it only happens during pregnancy. Besides, it is of paramount importance that you do something about gestational diabetes so that it will not adversely affect your baby. To be able to cope with gestational diabetes in a healthy way, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Keep your blood glucose levels in check. Your aim is to keep your blood glucose levels within normal range, just like those pregnant women without gestational diabetes. It is important that you know the normal values so that you can easily monitor your blood sugar levels. Your blood glucose level should be 95 mg/dl before meals. One hour after eating, it should be less than 140 mg/dl. It should go back to the normal range of 120 mg/dl or less two hours after eating. In order to monitor this, you would need a blood glucose monitor at home. This should be used at least once a day, or more frequently as needed.
  • Lose weight before you get pregnant. Just like type 2 diabetes, women who are most at risk for developing gestational diabetes are those who love to eat and are overweight. Therefore, those who are more than 20% their ideal body weight should start thinking about going on a diet. This does not only mean that you have to decrease the amount of food that you take. You should also consider making healthier choices, such as eating a vegetable salad instead of a whole chocolate bar. You should also limit your fat intake, as this would also benefit your baby. In addition, exercising is an important component of losing weight. Even though you are pregnant, you can still exercise as long as you first consult your doctor regarding the exercises that are safe for your condition.
  • Monitor your baby. Even if you do not have gestational diabetes, you have to go on pre-natal checkups at least once every trimester. For women with gestational diabetes, this should be done more frequently. Your doctor will monitor your baby’s movements through kick counts to know whether your baby is moving less than usual. Fetal ultrasounds will also be done to see how big your baby is growing, and whether or not your gestational diabetes already affects the growth of the baby. Your baby might also be subjected to a non-stress test to see how your baby’s heart responds to movement.
  • Take your prescribed medications. You have to make sure that you control your blood sugar levels. However, if your blood sugar remains uncontrolled, you should ask your doctor about taking insulin shots. The good thing about these is that insulin cannot cross the placental barrier, so your baby will not be affected by this medication. But before taking insulin shots, your doctor might first give you oral hypoglycemic agents to lower down your blood sugar levels. Avoid self-medicating and always ask your doctor about the safety of your child when taking any type of medication during pregnancy.

Learn more about gestational diabetes treatment by subscribing to our newsletter, or read our book on Amazon.

Gestational Diabetes Bread and Starches-Common Portion Sizes of Carbohydrate Choices Part 1

Gestational Diabetes Bread and Starches

gestational diabetes breadA very important part of gestational diabetes therapy is watching your diet. As in any type of diabetes, the food that you eat should be moderated in order for you avoid sudden spikes of glucose in your blood, as your body’s insulin cannot cope up with the amount of glucose in your body. Carbohydrates are the main sources of glucose, but this does not mean that a woman with gestational diabetes is no longer allowed to eat carbohydrate-rich foods. A gestational diabetic can enjoy any type of food, as long as she controls the portion sizes of every food she eats.

If you are planning your gestational diabetes menu, here are the serving sizes of the most common breads and starches. All of the amounts here are equal to one serving, and each serving contains about 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Gestational Diabetes Bread

Size of One Serving

Whole grain bread 1 ounce slice
Cooked cereal ½ cup
Cooked rice or pasta 1/3 cup
Cooked beans, peas, or lentils ½ cup
Corn ½ cup
Large baked potato ¼ portion
Mashed potato ½ cup
Flour or corn tortilla 1 to 6 inches
Low fat crackers 6 squares
Hamburger or hot dog bun, English muffin, or frozen bagel ½ portion
Popcorn 3 cups
Rice cakes 2 pieces
Graham crackers 3 pieces
Concentrated bran 1/3 cup
Dinner roll 1 small portion
Broth-based soup 1 cup
Pretzels, potato chips, or tortilla chips 3/4 ounces
Sweet potatoes or yams ½ cup
Pancake 1 piece, 4 inches

It would also be very helpful if you consult your dietitian regarding your numbers of servings per day of carbohydrate, since this varies from person to person. However, in general, you can choose one kind of starch and have a maximum of three servings per meal, or you can choose several combinations of starches for a bit of variety.  If you find a gestational diabetes meal plan is helpful, you can read more about planning in our gestational diabetes diet meal plan.

Tips on Including Starches and Bread in Your Diet

  • If possible, choose pasta, cereals, and whole grain bread, since they are made of complex carbohydrates, hence not causing sudden spikes in blood glucose levels.
  • Fried and high-fat starches, such as tortilla chips, potato chips, and biscuits, should be eaten sparingly. Instead, you can opt for baked potatoes, pretzels, and low-fat muffins.
  • Instead of using sour cream on baked potato, try using a low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
  • For your dips and bread fillings, remember to use low-fat or fat-free substitutes, like low-fat mayonnaise or light margarine.
  • Use skim or low-fat milk together with your cereals.
  • If you are buying foods from the market, check out the nutrition facts on the food labels so that you have an idea how much carbohydrate and other nutrients are stored in the food that you eat. (remember, one serving carbohydrate = 15 gm of carbohydrate)
  • Check the serving sizes using measuring cups and spoons. You can also use a food scale if you have one.

Remember that planning your diet is an integral part in coping up with gestational diabetes.

For more information on how to create a meal plan for women with gestational diabetes, you can sign up to receive our newsletters.

What Makes a Good Lunch for a Gestational Diabetic Diet?

Eating Lunch At Work?  Try To Make & Take Your Meals-lunch for a gestational diabetic diet

lunch for a gestational diabetic dietWomen with gestational diabetes should make some lifestyle modifications, and that includes modifying their diets. Although you can still eat whatever types of food that you want, the key is to limit the portions that you eat, especially foods that increase your blood sugar levels. In order to watch your diet, it is advisable to plan your meals accordingly. Here are some tips in creating a meal plan and lunch for a gestational diabetic diet that is suited for women with gestational diabetes.

How to Create a Meal Plan-lunch for a gestational diabetic diet

There are a few basic ideas that you need to keep in mind when making a meal plan. The first concept is the importance of carbohydrates in your diet. Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates need to be included in your meals even though they are the main sources of glucose. Besides, it is hard to totally eliminate carbohydrates from your diet since all foods, more or less, contain a combination of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The only thing that you need to remember when it comes to carbohydrates is that you have to regulate your intake of carbohydrate-rich foods. Unlike fats and proteins that take a long time to affect the blood sugar levels, carbohydrates can cause sudden spikes in blood sugar levels, so that is why they need to be measured.

Another idea that you need to keep in mind is that you have to promote nutrition through a balanced diet. Healthy food choices are very important, since you are not just thinking about your health but also of your baby’s. Aside from good choices, you also need to consider the timing and portions of your meals, as everything has to be taken in moderation.

Controlling Blood Glucose Levels

Here are some helpful tips in meal planning that can help you control your blood sugar levels:

  1. Eat small, frequent feedings. You need to eat at least every 2 to 3 hours so as to spread the amount of glucose that you take throughout the day.
  2. Include proteins in your diet. Proteins help even out your blood glucose, plus it also gives you energy to last throughout the day.
  3. Eat high-fiber foods. Foods that are high in fiber include cereals, whole-grain breads, beans, and fresh and frozen vegetables. You can also include fruits in your afternoon or evening meals since these are also good sources of fiber.
  4. Avoid sugar and sweets. These can easily raise your blood sugar levels since these are composed of simple sugars. Although it is okay to take them every now and then, do so sparingly. Avoid fruit juices, soft drinks, and desserts.
  5. Limit fats. This is especially needed if you are watching out for weight gain. Choose only foods that are low-fat or fat-free.

Sample Lunch Meal Plan

In order to help you in your meal planning, here is a sample meal plan for lunch that you can also do one of these days:

  • 2 to 3 ounces of turkey (protein)
  • ½ cup of low-fat milk (protein and carbohydrates)
  • 1 small orange (vitamins and fiber)
  • Carrot sticks with lettuce and tomato (fiber and carbohydrates)
  • 2 pieces of wheat bread (starch carbohydrates)
  • 1 tablespoon of light mayonnaise (fat)

If you want to learn more on how to create a meal plan, you can subscribe to our newsletter on gestational diabetes and get 3 days of dinner meals and a great booklet about gestational diabetes.

What Kind Of Exercise Can I Do With Gestational Diabetes?

Exercise during Pregnancy with Gestational Diabetes

Lifestyle modifications associated with gestational diabetes do not end in dieting alone. Exercise is as much a part of these lifestyle changes, even though you are pregnant. Most pregnant women are scared of doing exercises for fear that they might harm the baby. However, exercising is actually beneficial even for pregnant women, especially for those with gestational diabetes, since it helps keep their weight in check. It increases your body’s insulin response, hence lowering the blood sugar levels more efficiently. It can also relieve stress during pregnancy, which is why exercising is highly recommended for everyone. …….Exercise I Can Do With Gestational Diabetes?

Exercise I Can Do With Gestational Diabetes

There are several sports that are still deemed safe for pregnant women. Low impact and non-contact sports can still be done, such as the following:

  • Walking – This low impact exercise is considered as a good exercise for most people, pregnant or not. Even simply walking down the block to the market or to work is already exercising, so you can even make this a part of your routine.
  • Swimming – What is great about swimming is that it works for many muscles of your body, such as the muscles of your arms and legs. It helps keep you in tip top shape. However, swimming might be difficult during the latter part of your pregnancy, so it is only advisable during the first and second trimesters.
  • Cycling – This is a good aerobic workout even for pregnant women in their early and middle trimesters. Once again, it targets the lower limb muscles, although it is a great cardio workout as well.
  • Aerobics – Gestational diabetics can largely benefit from aerobics, since it helps keep the heart and lungs strong, making it a great cardio workout.

exercise i can do with gestational diabetes

Guidelines for Exercising during Pregnancy with Gestational Diabetes-exercise I can do with gestational diabetes

Even though exercising is good for those with gestational diabetes, there are still some reminders that you need to take not of before you start with your exercise routine.

  • Consult your doctor. This is the most important thing that you should do before you engage in any exercise program. Generally speaking, it is okay to exercise while pregnant and with gestational diabetes, as long as there is no chance of pre-term labor or any other co-existing conditions that might be detrimental to you and your baby’s health. Your doctor will tell you about things you should watch out for while exercising, as well as any limitations in terms of amount or movement.
  • Provide proper ventilation while exercising. Since you are pregnant, you need to keep in mind that you should not exercise outdoors on very hot days, since your body has the danger of heating up and causing damage to your unborn baby. Exercise in a well-ventilated or air-conditioned place, and avoid going out between 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.
  • Do warm up and cool down exercises. You should also start at a slow pace so as to avoid your body from heating up too fast. Warming up can also help your muscles prepare for exerting more effort, while cooling down is important in getting your heart rate back to normal.
  • Drink lots of water. This will prevent dehydration, in turn preventing pre-term labor and high body temperature, which may not be good for your baby. Water is the perfect and safest way to rehydrate fluids for pregnant women, since water is essential for almost all body functions.

You can do things that you love for exercise as long as your doctor approves, and if you want to.  It’s very important to do something everyday, even just a 10 minute walk after eating, to help keep your blood sugar in check.  Aside from the aforementioned guidelines, you can learn more about exercising for gestational diabetics and other pertinent information when you sign up for our newsletter here.

What Are The Blood Sugar Levels For Gestational Diabetes?

Recommended Blood Sugar Levels For Gestational Diabetes

It goes without saying that women who have gestational diabetes (GDM) should control their blood sugar levels. Just like other types of diabetes, the main problem in GDM is that the spiking blood glucose levels might cause problems for the pregnant mom. In order to keep the sugar under control, there are certain measures that every mom-to-be should know, especially the ones who are suffering from GDM. One of these measures is knowing how to take glucose levels in the blood, and this can be accomplished in a number of ways.  With gestational diabetes, you may have to do a blood sugar test up to 4 times per day.

blood sugar levels for gestational diabetes

Taking Blood Sugar Levels For Gestational Diabetes

There are several ways to determine the blood sugar levels of an individual. One of the most common is fasting blood sugar, more popularly known as FBS. This test is used to diagnose a person with in the diabetes or even pre-diabetes stage.  Eight hours of fasting is needed prior to this test to yield accurate results.

Another way of measuring glucose is through RBS or random blood sugar testing. As the name implies, this test is taken regardless of the last time you ate. This may be taken several times throughout the day, and is very useful for comparing values. Usually, healthy people do not have wide variations when it comes to blood sugar levels throughout the day, so those with noticeable fluctuations might be indicative of a problem. However, this is not a specific test for diagnosing diabetes.

The most common way of diagnosing GDM is through the oral glucose tolerance test or OGTT. In here, the woman is asked to drink a glass of a glucose-containing liquid. Afterwards, her blood sample will be taken to determine whether she has GDM or not. Once the woman is diagnosed with GDM, she might be asked to monitor her glucose levels throughout pregnancy through a glucometer and glucose strip, which should be taken at least two hours after meals.

Recommended Glucose Levels

In every glucose test, there is a corresponding glucose level that is deemed to be normal. Anything over that can strengthen the proof or even diagnose a pregnant woman with GDM. For example, in FBS, a glucose level of more than or equal to 95 mg/dl is already considered to be diabetic. This level can already be detrimental to the health of both the mother and the baby. If the glucose levels are tested one hour post-prandial or after eating, a value of more than or equal to 130 mg/dl is indicative of a glucose absorption problem. Two hours after eating, a pregnant woman should have less than 120 mg/dl in order to be considered healthy.

However, it is important to remember that a very low glucose level of less than 60 mg/dl is indicative of hypoglycemia, and can cause hunger, dizziness, confusion, and weakness.

Keeping a Food Log

If you are diagnosed with GDM, it is essential to keep a food log so that you know which foods increase your blood sugar levels, and which ones only do so minimally. Aside from that, you should also take note of your portion size, especially for foods high in sugar and carbohydrates.

Even getting a great book on meal planning will help.  Be sure to consult your nutritionist regarding a diet plan to keep your glucose levels in check.

To receive further information on blood sugar levels for gestational diabetes, you can also sign up for our newsletter.

Fitting Sweets into Your Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan

Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan-Fitting In Sweets

Just like the people afflicted with the more common type 2 diabetes mellitus, women suffering from gestational diabetes should also keep a close watch on their diet. Since glucose comes from ar the food that they eat, it is important that they should take note of what they eat so that they are able keep their blood glucose levels in check. One way to do this is to make a gestational diabetes meal plan. In order to create this, you must know how much carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and sugar you need to include in your diet.

What Should You Eat?

The key to gestational diabetes meal planning is to eat a balanced diet. Remember, there is nothing that is forbidden to you – not even sweets. However, these should be eaten in moderation. That being said, it is essential to include a variety of foods in your meal plan: vegetables; fruits; milk and milk products; meat, poultry, and fish; and bread, rice, and pasta.

The last food group is full of carbohydrates, and these are the ones that are broken down into glucose and used by the body. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you should avoid eating carbohydrates altogether, since that is not an option. Carbohydrates are still needed by the body, as they are the main sources of energy for the body. What you can do is to moderate your intake of carbohydrates; that is, only consume not more than three servings for each of the main meals. It is also important to choose foods that are broken down into glucose slowly, since this helps avoid spikes in a woman’s blood glucose level. Examples of these foods are whole grain breads and plain yogurts. You can also opt to combine carbohydrates with protein-rich foods so as to balance your diet.

But What About Sweets?

gestational diabetes meal planAs for sweets, it is a generally accepted fact that these foods should be avoided because of their little to none nutritional value, and at the same time adverse effects on one’s blood sugar levels. However, it is not wise to completely obliterate sugar-rich foods in one’s diet, since sugar is also another source of energy for the body. One way to incorporate sweets into your diet is to eat a slightly lower amount of carbohydrates in a specific meal, and then allow yourself a little bit of sugar in return. You can also add sweets into your meal if the food you are eating has a low glycemic index, meaning glucose is broken down slowly. Remember, you cannot indulge in sweets, but you can have a little bit of it in your diet.

If you really have a sweet tooth and cannot seem to get enough of sweet foods, you can opt to use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Equal. These can be used even during pregnancy, and does not have any adverse effect on the mother or the fetus. Do not forget to drink plenty of water, as it still remains the first choice of fluids for moms-to-be with gestational diabetes.

Finally, if you want to learn more about what to do with gestational diabetes, check out our book on Amazon, and sign up for our mailing list.

gestational diabetes meal plan pdf