Gestational Diabetes can be prevented even BEFORE a woman becomes pregnant through simple steps like diet modification, moderate exercise and stress reduction. What is more – those steps taken before, as well as during pregnancy can reduce a women’s LIFETIME risk of developing diabetes, as well as her baby’s risk of obesity and other significant health complications.
Experts say it is crucial to recognise the potential longterm risks of unhealthy habits, and there is no better motivation for a healthier lifestyle than the desire to become pregnant.
Undiagnosed and uncontrolled, early gestational diabetes can cause heart or other birth defects in the baby, or even a miscarriage.
Later in pregnancy, babies exposed to high glucose levels can gain excess size and body fat which may result in a C-section delivery and increase post-delivery complications.
After delivery, a third to a half of mothers with gestational diabetes will go on to develop Type II diabetes. Their babies also may have a significantly increased lifetime risk of becoming overweight, obese or developing diabetes.
Tips for Successful lifestyle changes:
1. Keep it simple. You don’t need a fancy diet plan. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, get your protein and good fats. Balanced, colourful meals and everything in moderation. Consult your doctor to ensure you are getting enough vitamins. And don’t over-indulge – the occasional treat is fine, if it is controlled and counted. For best results, keep a food journal or try a free app like My Fitness Pal to get you started.
2. Exercising doesn’t have to be a chore. Be committed to avoiding the boredom. If you are someone who needs a challenge and likes to run – get on a couch to 5K program that allows you to celebrate measurable milestones. Do something you love – get in the pool, walk through your favourite neighbourhoods, try that trampoline centre, go rock climbing.
If you’re social, join a team. If you want to improve your relationships, grab a partner – this is a great chance to make time for your partner, chat with your sister, build a better relationship with someone you know less or bond with someone you’ve had less time for.
It doesn’t have to be extreme – be honest about your personality and your preferences. Challenge yourself.
3. Get your household or family on board. This is a key motivating factor that experts find make it much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It also encourages support and a happy environment for everyone involved – perfect for setting your home for the arrival of a new baby.
4. Keep your weight gain under control – before and during your pregnancy. Don’t obsess over a number, but don’t leave it to guess work. Know what is going on with your body and establish some targets and goals.
5. Tackle the sources of your stress. Stress can increase your blood glucose level and can also cause you to turn to unhealthful behaviors such as overeating, eating unhealthful foods or smoking. Stress has many sources. Name some of your main sources of stress and see if you can identify an action to reduce or eliminate these complications.