Am I at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?
Of all the main risk factors for gestational diabetes, the one you have the most control over is your weight. Some of the best ways to help reduce this particular risk include making a few lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, and controlling weight gain during pregnancy.
Some tips for dietary changes include making healthy food choices; for example:
- Avoid foods or drinks that are high in sugar
- Pick high-fiber foods, which can help to control blood sugar
- Reduce your consumption of flour products, such as white bread, tortillas, and cereals
- Drink less fruit juice and eat more whole fruit
- Eat more whole-grain products, dried beans, and vegetables
- Limit fast foods
- Avoid breaded and fried foods, such as French fries, fried chicken, and fish sticks
- Opt for grilled or baked foods
- Avoid sweet sauces, such as ketchup and relish.
Also, try to eat smaller and more frequent meals. By eating three or four smaller meals and two to three healthy snacks each day, your body can more effectively control your blood sugar. In addition, do not skip meals (see Gestational Diabetes Diet).
Physical activity is also beneficial for reducing your risk for high blood sugar, as exercise helps the body use blood sugar more efficiently. However, before incorporating an exercise program into your schedule, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she can help give you some advice on what exercises would be safe and most beneficial for you during pregnancy. Some tips for being more active during pregnancy include:
- Walk for 15 minutes after each meal, which can help to lower blood sugar levels
- Avoid walking in hot or humid weather
- Make sure to drink plenty of water while you are exercising.
Controlling your weight gain can also reduce your risk for gestational diabetes. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to do this that would be appropriate for your particular situation, including how much or how little weight gain would be safe and appropriate. Some things to keep in mind when controlling your weight during pregnancy include:
- Understand that weight gain is needed to support the healthy growth of your baby
- How much weight you gain during pregnancy will be based on your pre-pregnancy weight
- Too much or too little weight gain may cause problems for you or your baby.