Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy With Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that impacts how the body turns food into energy. There are several types of diabetes, each with different underlying causes and symptoms. It’s also possible to develop diabetes in pregnancy – known as gestational diabetes – though it usually resolves itself post-birth.

According to the World Health Organization, the number of people living with diabetes has risen dramatically in recent years. While there were 108 million people living with diabetes in 2014, this number rose to 422 million by 2014. Uncontrolled diabetes can have devastating effects – diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes.

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Diabetes is a serious condition that requires management, but it’s still possible to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery despite a diagnosis. Below, we reveal the top tips for managing diabetes when you’re expecting.

5
Watch What You Eat


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Diabetes affects your blood sugar, but an easy way to keep the levels stable is to monitor your diet. It’s important to stick with foods that are low in fat and calories but higher in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.

UCSF Health recommends eating three meals and a couple of snacks per day. Eating a lot at once can cause your blood sugar to spike but sticking to small meals and snacks to supplement can help prevent this.

The outlet also recommends limiting your intake of milk and fruit (it suggests one portion at a time), since both of these foods contain natural sugars and having too much at one time can cause your blood sugar levels to rise.

4
Don’t Avoid Breakfast


Taking a healthy breakfast is something moms need to do every morning
Via Pexels

It’s not only what you eat that matters, but when you eat. UCSF Health explains that it’s important diabetics don’t skip their morning meals, especially in pregnancy.

The outlet explains that pregnancy hormones are strongest in the morning, making blood sugar levels more difficult to control. The longer you wait before having your first meal, the more likely your blood sugar levels are to get out of control.

Of course, not everyone is a breakfast person, but it’s important to encourage yourself to eat something (even if it’s small) in the morning to make sure you’re feeling your best.

3
Work-Out Regularly


When pregnant on the treadmill the talk test or RPE should be used to test intensity levels
via Pexels/Magda Ehlers

When you have diabetes, making sure you get the recommended amount of physical activity is important whether you’re pregnant or not. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that being active makes the body more sensitive to insulin, which is the hormone that promotes the transformation of glucose (blood sugar) into energy.

Being active also helps control blood sugar levels, in general, and can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and nerve damage.

When expecting, it’s normal to not be able to work out to the same degree or frequency you could pre-pregnancy, especially the farther along you are. It’s recommended that you get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity while pregnant. Speak to your doctor to learn what sorts of activities are best in light of your fitness levels and overall health.

2
Test Your Blood Sugar


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Via Max Pixel

When you have diabetes, it’s important to regularly monitor your blood sugar. This can allow you to see whether it’s too high or low before symptoms develop, so you can take action to stabilize the levels before it becomes concerning.

People who were diagnosed with diabetes pre-pregnancy are likely used to this step, but it may be new to you developing gestational diabetes while expecting. Your healthcare provider can instruct you on how to check your blood sugar levels as well as how frequently you should be doing it.

In general, the most ideal times for diabetics to check their blood sugar levels is when they first wake up, before eating something, two hours after a meal, and right before bed. However, you should follow your doctor’s specific instructions.

1
Continue Your Medication


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Via Flickr @ The Javorac

The type of medication you’ll be prescribed after a diabetes diagnosis will differ depending on the type. But it’s important to continue with your medication in pregnancy, so long as it’s deemed safe to do so by your doctor.

Most diabetes medications are safe in pregnancy. Insulin is the most common medication prescribed for diabetes. Diabetes.org notes that it’s completely safe to take during pregnancy, as it won’t pass on to the baby via the placenta. Gestational diabetes, conversely, is commonly treated with oral agents such as glyburide and metformin.

What you should never do is stop your medication without a doctor’s approval simply because you’re pregnant. This can significantly affect your blood sugar levels, putting both you and the baby at risk.

It’s normal to have concerns while pregnant and living with diabetes, including concerns over the safety of your medication. But the best thing you can do is speak to your doctor about the best practices safeguarding maternal and fetal health while pregnant with diabetes.

Sources: WHO, UCSF Health, CDC, NIH, Diabetes.org,


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