3 Recommendations for Preventing Gestational Diabetes

3 Recommendations for Preventing Gestational Diabetes

Last update: 01 October, 2017

Gestational diabetes occurs due to a change in the metabolism of glucose during gestation. It is a type of diabetes that only happens during pregnancy, preventing insulin from working correctly. An imbalance in the regulation of blood glucose levels is produced.

This ailment is somewhat common, since between 1% and 4% of pregnant women suffer from it. It is mainly related to the woman’s genes, so it affects one particular group.

It’s recommended that women predisposed to this condition, or with relatives who have had it, have an annual exam, especially if they are expecting. This ailment is detected via the O’Sullivan Test, which consists of a blood analysis to verify that insulin levels are adequate.

What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?

This condition is not characterized by any symptoms. Therefore, pregnant women do a glucose tolerance test between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnant woman getting her blood pressure checked with a doctor

Women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes commonly have healthy babies. This will depend on how well the blood glucose levels are controlled, as the baby can be born obese or overfed.

For their part, women who suffer from pre-existing chronic diabetes should increase their regulation while pregnant. These cases are not called gestational diabetes, which is only active during pregnancy.

If a woman begins to suffer from this problem during gestation, she will return to normal after delivery. 

Risk factors for gestational diabetes

When blood glucose levels are controlled, the pregnancy should not be considered high risk. However, a strict diet and regular check-ups are required.

The baby can also develop hypoglycemia, which refers to a low blood sugar level. Therefore, it is advisable to quickly begin breastfeeding once the baby is born. It is also known that babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to suffer from illnesses in the future.

Some factors increase the likelihood of developing gestational diabetes. The most common are:

  • Obesity
  • Pre-existing diabetes
  • Relatives with diabetes
  • Sugar in urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Being 35 years or older

It’s important to live a healthy lifestyle before getting pregnant. The risk of suffering from this disease can decrease by taking care of your body in advance. Maintaining a proper weight and exercising moderately are decisive factors for the health of any woman who wants to become pregnant.

How to prevent gestational diabetes

how to prevent gestational diabetes

To prevent gestational diabetes, the following steps are recommended:

  • Exercise. Having a daily routine of moderate exercise helps the mother control her weight. In addition, it improves energy and decreases back pain. One option is to walk, swim or do yoga for 30 minutes.
  • Go to the doctor. Having control during your pregnancy is very important so that you can calm all of your fears. Your doctor will perform tests to monitor your blood glucose levels.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Maintaining a balanced diet is very important for the health of both mother and child. Nutrition depends on the mother’s weight, height and activity level. The diet should consist of a variety of foods and be adapted for each pregnancy. A balanced diet is the best way to prevent this condition. 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.