National Diabetes Month: Gestational Diabetes and Nutrition

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Did you know there are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Both types of Diabetes are chronic diseases that affect the way your body regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is the fuel that feeds your body’s cells, but to enter your cells it needs a key. Those with Type 1 don’t make insulin and those with Type 2 make insulin, but they don’t effectively use the insulin they produce.

This week we have Kelsey Munn, RD, CLC, Whitney Young Health’s WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator is giving you the facts on Gestational Diabetes and how you can prevent it through the right nutrition habits. 

During pregnancy, our bodies go through a lot of changes. We need to gain weight to help grow the baby, we go through a lot of strange food cravings, and sometimes our body becomes resistant to insulin, a hormone responsible for controlling glucose (or sugar). This is called Gestational Diabetes and it occurs in less than 10% of pregnancies.

First off, what can you think of that has glucose, or sugar in it?

We know that things like candy, soda, and desserts are high in sugar, but glucose is found in a lot of healthy foods too! Whole grains, beans, fresh fruits, dried fruit, dairy products, and 100% juices all have sugars in them and can spike your blood glucose after eating them. This is why eating a wide variety of foods and always eating in moderation is really important!

During your 24-28 week visit, you will drink a high sugar drink and your blood will be tested for glucose. This is how we screen for and diagnosis gestational diabetes. After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it is important to keep up with your OB-GYN and to talk to a Registered Dietitian (RD) and/or a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) in order to get the best care during your pregnancy.

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If you have become diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to keep up with your doctor more often, test your blood sugar on your own, eat healthy foods in moderate portions, get activity every day (even if it just a 30 minute walk!), and it is possible you will be prescribed insulin injections as well.

Please keep in mind, gestational diabetes is not a permanent diagnosis and it usually goes away after giving birth. It does, on the other hand, increase your risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes later in life. Thankfully, breastfeeding, losing the baby weight, keeping active, and eat a healthy diet will help reduce your risk! 

To learn more about the diabetic diet, please visit last week’s post by Whitney Young Health’s Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Molly Ward, RD, CDN CDE, here.

For more information, please feel free to read the sources used for this blog post!