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