While gestational diabetes is diagnosed in approximately 6 percent of pregnancies, that percentage has doubled in the last few decades. And the condition, while still somewhat rare, can cause serious complications for both mom and baby.
Here's what expectant moms should know about gestational diabetes.
Defining Gestational Diabetes
First things first — what is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes, like other types of diabetes, occurs when the body can't properly utilize glucose. This type of diabetes occurs exclusively during pregnancy, and the mom's blood sugar typically returns to normal following pregnancy.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes include:
- Blurred vision
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- Loss of concentration
Because gestational diabetes can put mom and baby at risk, it's important to take steps to maintain normal blood sugar during pregnancy. Living a healthy lifestyle is an essential first step.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Healthy eating during pregnancy is much the same as healthy eating before and after pregnancy. Fill your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and a small amount of healthy fat.
Limit your intake of sugar and sodium, even when cravings strike.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercising on a regular basis is important for everyone. However, exercising during pregnancy is even more important.
Talk with your doctor about what activities are OK for you to perform during pregnancy. For some women, particularly those who are physically active, continuing with a normal exercise routine is possible throughout pregnancy. But depending on your health and fitness level, you may need to modify the exercises you're performing or how often you're performing them.
Don't Miss Your Checkups
Because diabetes often doesn't present evident symptoms, it's especially important to see your doctor regularly for checkups. During your pregnancy, your doctor will keep a careful eye on your blood sugar levels and you'll even have specially designed tests to check glucose in the body.
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