Gestational Diabetes

Take control of your health with a gestational diabetes diet

Your body changes a lot in pregnancy, and sometimes those changes can be a bit too extreme for your own good. Gestational diabetes is one condition that can creep up on you, often through no fault of your own, that needs to be actively controlled. But while it can be difficult to find out that you have a health condition to monitor, as with most illnesses, gestational diabetes doesn't have to cause you worry, threaten your health or affect your baby's development. The key is to know how best to fight the symptoms of gestational diabetes and reduce the risks to keep your body working well through the next nine months and beyond.

About Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a lot like other forms of diabetes in some respects, but unlike them in other ways. Like other forms of the disease, gestational diabetes affects your body's ability to use the glucose in your blood, leading to high levels of blood sugar and high blood pressure, which can have consequences for your health and the health of your baby if the disease is not treated.

Unlike other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes can show up out of the blue and may not bring any immediate symptoms. Typically beginning during the second trimester of pregnancy, it can affect women who were not particularly at risk for type 1 or type 2 diabetes before they become pregnant, but it most often disappears after baby is born. While it is only a temporary disorder, gestational diabetes can be an indicator that mom or baby may be at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes might include excessive hunger and thirst or an increase in blood pressure, but you may not experience any discomfort. Since symptoms can be hard to spot, a glucose screening test is conducted between week 24 and week 28 to check for high blood sugar. Weight, age and previous pregnancy experience all affect your risk of developing gestational diabetes -- women who are overweight and those over 30 are a higher risk -- but less than 3% of moms-to-be will contract the condition. And if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, rest assured that there are several ways to control the symptoms and reduce any dangers to yourself or your baby.

A Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan

One of the most important aspects of any pregnancy is a healthy pregnancy diet; when you have gestational diabetes, this is the most important element of your prenatal routine. A gestational diabetes diet is really just a very healthy meal plan -- something that could help any expectant mother stay fit, energetic and healthy throughout pregnancy.

Eating three smaller meals and three snacks each day will help level out your glucose. Well-balanced meals that include whole foods and exclude simple sugars will form the core of your gestational diabetes diet menu, beginning with a complete breakfast. Whether you're preparing a meal or a snack, be sure to include protein and high-fiber carbohydrates, which are your best weapons in the fight against fluctuating blood sugar. Also, it will be much easier to keep metabolism up and blood sugar down when you combine your healthy diet with regular exercise and keep a close eye on everything, so use a journal to record your blood sugar readings, meals and daily activity.