At 30 weeks pregnant with Lia I found out I had gestational diabetes. Before I had an appointment with my nutritionist I began to google and find all the information and books I could about it. Turns out it is way simpler than I expected.
What is Gestational Diabetes? Gestational diabetes does not come from eating too many sweats and sugar. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Why does it happen? Well, you thank your good ol’ placenta. The placenta releases hormones which block insulin from doing it’s job causing your blood sugar levels to spike. When you get gestational diabetes your doctor will pair you up with a nutritionist during your pregnancy to help you learn how to keep your levels at bay. But did you know that once you have it you are more likely to develop it in future pregnancies? Well there are ways to prepare yourself for it.
Start your meal plan again
The best way to keep your blood sugar levels low is to control the amount of carbohydrates you take. It is recommended that 3-6 months prior to getting pregnant again you start to implement your meal plan again.
Try to spread your pregnancies 18 months apart.
With gestational diabetes comes the increased chance of preterm labor. It is recommended you wait 18 months between pregnancies to lower the risk.
Staying active is a great way to prepare your body for pregnancy and birth in general. Exercising lets your body use glucose without needing extra insulin.
Why is this all important? Well having untreated gestational diabetes can result in the following complications :
- increasing the risk of pre-term labor
- hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)- severe episodes can cause seizures in baby
- higher chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life
- macrosomia- your baby can gain excessive birth weight. the extra glucose in your placenta triggers their tiny pancreas to make extra insulin. Large babies can have a difficult time passing through the birth canal causing injuries or requiring a c-section
- preeclampsia- high blood pressure during pregnancy can be extremely dangerous to both mother and child
- your chances of having diabetes in the future increases
Don’t let these complications scare you. Meal planning and exercise are a great way to keep your blood sugar at safe levels and controlled. Your doctor or midwives will keep checking in with you regularly and making sure both you and your baby are safe. My nutritionist recommended I begin to implement a healthy eating and active lifestyle 3-6 months prior to getting pregnant. Although we have not decided on an exact time frame, we do know that it will be after our wedding in October and we wish to be as prepared as we possibly can be.