gestational diabetes

Overcoming Gestational Diabetes for a Healthy Baby

I know from personal experience how overwhelming it can be to receive a diagnosis of gestational diabetes. Despite being active, eating well, and following a healthy lifestyle, I was diagnosed with this condition at 26 weeks into my pregnancy.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women when their bodies cannot produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels properly. Managing this type of diabetes is crucial for the health of both mother and baby during pregnancy. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes due to insulin resistance. In my case, even as a young, healthy woman with a normal body weight, I tested positive for gestational diabetes, despite my doctor’s reassurance that the test was a mere formality.

Symptoms to watch for:

While some women may not have symptoms, it’s essential to be aware of potential warning signs of gestational diabetes during pregnancy. My symptoms were unusual thirst and fatigue. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:

  • Sugar in the urine: Detected during routine prenatal checkups, sugar in the urine indicates your body isn’t processing glucose correctly.
  • Unusual thirst: Constant thirst may signal high blood sugar levels.
  • Frequent urination: Needing to urinate more frequently, even at night, can be a sign of gestational diabetes.
  • Fatigue: Feeling extremely tired or weak despite sufficient sleep.
  • Nausea: Excessive nausea or vomiting may indicate gestational diabetes.
  • Blurred vision: High blood sugar levels can cause blurry or double vision.
  • Infections: Gestational diabetes increases susceptibility to infections, such as yeast, bladder, and skin infections.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can be similar to typical pregnancy symptoms. Discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider, as early detection and proper management of gestational diabetes can contribute to a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Diet and Lifestyle Choices for Blood Sugar Control

Controlling blood sugar levels through a healthy diet is possible without insulin, as I managed to do. Pay attention to your food choices and portion sizes. Some foods, like fruits, may need to be limited due to their sugar content. After receiving a diagnosis, you’ll be given a blood glucose monitor to check your levels upon waking and one hour after every meal. Keeping a food journal can help you identify which foods affect your blood sugar levels positively or negatively.

Making Healthier Food Choices

Avoid simple carbohydrates, sweets, candy, and baked goods, as they can cause blood sugar spikes. Opt for complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain bread, brown rice, and oatmeal, which digest more slowly and help regulate blood sugar levels. Find healthy alternatives for cravings, like berries instead of cookies and chocolates. Processed and high-fat foods should be avoided as well. Choose lean protein sources and non-starchy vegetables, such as chicken, fish, tofu, broccoli, spinach, and kale. Incorporate regular walks after meals to lower blood sugar levels.

Collaborating with Healthcare Professionals

Work with your healthcare provider and a registered dietitian to develop a personalized meal plan. Making healthy choices and staying active can contribute to a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Navigating Unique Pregnancy Circumstances

Gestational diabetes might be intimidating, especially with potential risks like a larger-than-normal baby. However, remember that every pregnancy is unique, and make informed decisions based on your situation. In my case, I chose to let my baby come naturally instead of inducing labor at 38 weeks, common for gestational diabetes cases. My baby was born at 40 weeks and 5 days, weighing 4kg100 – perfect, according to my doctor, but heavy by standard measures.

Staying Positive and Informed

Stay informed, communicate with your doctor, and do what’s best for you and your baby. While gestational diabetes isn’t ideal, proper management and a positive attitude can lead to a healthy pregnancy and a beautiful baby.

Please note that I speak from personal experience. For substantiated information, we always recommend that you take a look at the World Health Organization and the CDC.

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Margaux Luyten


Adventure-loving mom blogger. Breastfeeding from December ’21. Sharing her insight on pregnancy and motherhood while embracing a healthy & active lifestyle. 

Margaux Luyten

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