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Simple Gestational Diabetes Tips

Pregnancy can be exciting and scary on its own with all of the unknowns about what you are about to embark upon, but add a health issue that suddenly becomes much scarier. Even if you were 100% healthy when you conceived, developing a health issue such as hypertension or gestational diabetes can happen regardless. 

While gestational diabetes may seem like a huge hurdle for you and your baby to overcome, you can do things to help. For those finding themselves in this situation, my top five gestational diabetes tips!

 

top five gestational diabetes tips! 

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If you are unfamiliar with gestational diabetes, you may be wondering what it is. Simply put, it is a form of diabetes that only pregnant women can have. These women did not have diabetes before pregnancy, and most will not be after pregnancy. However, just because it is primarily a temporary form of diabetes does not mean that it is less serious than long-term diabetes. You need to be diligent about regulating your blood sugar to keep yourself safe, and most importantly, your baby safe. 

To diagnose gestational diabetes, your OB or doctor will want to run a fasting lab. You will need to fast for a minimum of 12 hours.

They will then have you drink a very sugary drink. I’m sure you’ve heard of the glucose drink. I had to drink it a total of 5 times and honestly didn’t find it that bad. I wouldn’t be cracking one to drink for funsies, but I thought it tasted like a flat orange soda. Once you drink the drink, you will wait an hour or two and then come back for a blood draw. This blood draw will be used to test the levels of sugar in your blood. If they are too high, you will either have to come back for a 4-hour glucose testing or likely be given a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor will have you set up an appointment to chat with an endocrinologist and most likely a nutritionist, as well. During this appointment, you will learn more about your glucose level goals, your carb goal for each meal, and if you will need insulin shots. The majority of women can regulate their gestational diabetes with a balanced diet. If you are one of the unlucky few that has to give yourself insulin shots, don’t freak out! Take it from someone TERRIFIED of needles and had to give herself insulin shots… it eventually is like second nature. After this meeting, it’s go time with gestational diabetes, so here are my top simple tips for coping with gestational diabetes.

 

EDUCATE YOURSELF

When you first receive a gestational diabetes diagnosis, the best thing you can do for yourself and your unborn baby is to educate yourself. Since you are already here, you have already taken the first step, so congrats! Educating yourself about your disease, even if it may only be temporary, is the best way for both you and your baby to be as healthy as possible. Two excellent resources are your endocrinologist and nutritionist. Ask them all of the questions you may have, big or small, during that initial meeting.

 

EAT A BALANCED DIET

The nutrition side was by far the most stressful for me, but once you get in the groove, I promise you that it becomes effortless. A healthy diet is important for anyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes. Here are three points to keep in the back of your mind:

  • Watch your carb intake and limit to healthy carbs only
  • Eat lots of green leafy vegetables followed by a rainbow of colors
  • Make healthy choices such as limiting caffeine
  • It also should go without saying that abstaining from drugs and alcohol is part of eating healthy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome aside, alcohol especially will raise your blood sugar levels almost immediately. 

The above gestational diabetes tips to help control your eating, but if you want even more, makes sure to check out my free guide to stabilizing blood sugar!

Gestational Diabetes Tips

I’m not sure if you are familiar with 2B Mindset, but that program’s “Plate It” method for lunch is kind of the guideline I used when preparing my meals. I would make sure half of my plate was veggies, a little more than a quarter was meat, and then I would do however many grams in carbs for the rest of my plate. Here is an example:

  • Meal prep meats and carbs. I would make a mix of baked sweet potatoes and baked regular potatoes. I would also prep chicken ahead of time and shred it. 
  • Stock your freezer with veggie steamers. I always had these on hand for a quick and easy addition to a meal. Less prep = less stress.
  • Once it is time to eat a meal, throw a steamer bag into the microwave, grab the chicken and potato, cut the potato to meet the carb goal, add butter for healthy fat. BOOM! Veggies, carbs, and protein in 5 minutes flat. 

Here is the 2B Mindset guideline that I mentioned. I loosely followed this to concept of “veggies most”:

gestational diabetes tips - 2b mindset

I also had a lot of whole wheat wraps on hand and would make chicken salad wraps for lunch with a big side of my steamed veggies. If you want more ideas, shoot me an email or DM on Instagram, and I will be more than willing to share my meal tricks with you! 

 

BE MINDFUL OF YOUR SUGAR INTAKE 

For people with diabetes, sugar is the literal enemy. A blood glucose reading that is too high can cause anger issues, fatigue, kidney damage, and yes, even death. For the sake of your own life but also that of your unborn baby, being mindful of your sugar intake is incredibly important. Eating a low or no sugar diet is the only true way to regulate blood sugar levels without medical intervention. Sadly, this doesn’t just apply to refined sugar. Honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup can all make your blood sugar spike. Don’t be afraid to experiment, though! If you want to test the waters, have a small amount and see how your blood sugar reacts. Everyone is different!

 

GET REGULAR EXERCISE

Another way to help regulate your blood sugar while pregnant is to make sure you get regular exercise. It does not need to be a heavy workout, but even something such as going for a short walk can help. It especially helps regulate your blood sugar right after a meal. Here are things I would do after a meal to keep my blood sugar levels from spiking:

  • Walk up and down my stairs five times
  • Take a walk around the block
  • Do a few arm exercises with my free weights
  • Leg exercises with my bands

The exercises I focused on were also benefiting me for when the baby got here. 

  • When I walked the stairs, I would focus on breathe work. 
  • When I did my arm exercises, I focused on strengthening the muscles that I would need once the baby got here. 
  • And I did leg exercises that would help protect my lower back and prepare me for labor! 

Killing two birds with one stone, right!?

If you are not used to exercising, be sure to check with your OB/GYN before starting anything. Your doctor may have modifications or recommendations for your pregnancy. It is better to be safe than sorry, especially when you’re pregnant. 

 

MONITOR YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS 

An essential part of diabetes management is monitoring your blood sugar levels at home. Monitoring is usually done approximately 60 to 90 minutes after each meal to determine if you’re eating correctly and have normal sugar levels in your blood. If not, you may need to make some changes. 

Monitoring your blood sugar at home is much easier than when your doctor does it. Instead of a fasting blood draw, you will use a simple glucose monitor that tests by pricking your finger. It is mostly painless and swift to get the results. As you test, it is highly recommended that you keep a blood sugar log to help your doctor track your illness. In the 1st couple of weeks, he/she will have you write down the foods you are eating and detect patterns. 

 

I won’t sugar coat it (no pun intended); the 1st week of taking your blood sugar can be kind of scary.

 

The 1st day of my new diet and pricking my finger was probably the worst day of my pregnancy. I had no clue what I was doing, pricked my fingers EIGHT times just for the morning fast numbers, and basically cried all morning lol.

 Here is my step-by-step gestational diabetes tip for making it pretty painless.

  • Do a few arm exercises to get your blood pumping. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy
  • Then wash your hands under hot water. Your hands should be clean, plus it helps get the blood flowing
  • Now, push your finger down with lots of pressure on the side of a table edge
  • Prick the side of your finger and immediately squeeze and massage the “prick zone” for your droplet of blood

This way is usually foolproof. Oh, and always remember to rotate fingers with each prick!

Here is my evidence of my 1st day. Don’t be like “1st day Morgan”. Prick properly lol!

Gestational Diabetes Tips - Blood Glucose test

 

ASK FOR HELP

Us women are basically superheroes, but even superheroes need help sometimes. I mean, how many times did Robin have to save Batman. Sometimes no matter what you do, gestational diabetes can not be controlled with simple lifestyle changes.

 

This is true for regular long-term diabetes as well and does not necessarily mean you did anything wrong. In this case, it is time to speak to your doctor. They may want to put you on medication or on insulin to help your body regulate your blood sugars.

 

Even if you are prone to not liking medication, in this case, it is far better to take the medicines than not to. Your baby’s life could very well depend on it.

 

Coping with gestational diabetes is challenging in the beginning, but I promise you it gets easier.  You will have bad days when all you want is a damn donut, but hey, the silver lining is you will have a lot less weight to lose postpartum due to your balanced diet 😉

 

Honestly, because of GD, I had:

  • No swelling issues
  • No rapid weight gain
  • I ate healthy for the baby and me
  • and overall felt amazing, considering I was in 3rd trimester. 

So it’s really not all that bad. Take a deep breath, remember you are a badass woman growing a HUMAN. If you can do that, you can easily take on gestational diabetes!

 

I hope you found these gestational diabetes tips useful! If you have any questions, post it in the comments below! And thanks for taking the time to check out my post 🥰🥰🥰

 

 

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About Morgan Wender

I’m a boy mom, dog mom, bee mom, lover of all things Disney, and lover of making the best out of this chaotic life of mine. I created this platform to share my life, and help normalize “big topic” motherhood issues. I hope you enjoy my mix of life, love, levity, and everything in between.Now that you know a little about me, I would love to know more about you! Find me over on Instagram, and shoot me a DM if you would like to chat!the journey

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Hi, I’m Morgan! I created this platform to be able to share my life, help normalize big topic motherhood issues, and help simplify all the things I learned the complicated way. I hope you enjoy my mix of life, love, levity, and everything in between

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