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How to Deal with Gestational Diabetes

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Uploaded on Sep 28, 2009

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

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.

Tip
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.

Tip
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.

Did You Know?
Giving birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds increases your risk of developing gestational diabetes during your next pregnancy.

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