How To: Deal with gestational diabetes

Deal with gestational diabetes

Approximately 4 percent of women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Here's how to manage it.

You Will Need
* A healthy diet
* Daily exercise
* Blood-sugar monitoring
* A postpartum checkup
* Good habits

Step 1
Know what gestational diabetes is. During pregnancy, increased hormone production requires more insulin to keep blood-sugar levels from getting too high. If the mother's pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to keep her blood sugar level normal, she becomes diabetic.

Step 2
Follow the diet your doctor gives you. It likely will consist largely of high-fiber fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes; simple sugars and carbohydrates will be limited. The goal of the diet is to maintain a normal blood-sugar level.

Three small, well-spaced meals and three snacks will help keep your blood sugar on an even keel.

Step 3
Exercise according to your obstetrician's guidelines. Experts say daily walking and swimming are especially good workouts for pregnant women.

Step 4
If diet and exercise don't bring down your blood-sugar levels, your doctor may have you inject yourself with insulin or take an oral medication.

Step 5
Keep on top of your condition by testing your blood sugar with a blood-glucose meter several times a day: When waking up in the morning; before each meal; and an hour or two after each meal. Call your doctor immediately if your blood-sugar level is high.

Acceptable blood sugar levels are 95 or less upon awakening; 140 or less an hour after meals; and 120 or less two hours after meals.

Step 6
Return to your doctor six to 12 weeks after giving birth to have your blood sugar retested. For most women, their blood-sugar levels return to normal after they give birth.

Step 7
Stick with your anti-diabetes diet and exercise plan so you won't become part of the approximately 50 percent of women who develop type 2 diabetes within five years of having gestational diabetes.

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