Gestational Diabetes
18 Case Studies
39 Member Stories
2283 Research

Some women can prevent gestational diabetes or diabetes in pregnancy by getting enough exercise and changing their diet. One way to control gestational diabetes is to become knowledgeable about the foods you should and should not eat during pregnancy. You need to know what regular lifestyle changes you can make to keep healthy blood glucose levels, and to find support if you need it.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Do you know gestational diabetes increases your risk of complications during pregnancy? Are you aware that gestational diabetes is also associated with Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease after pregnancy? Are you planning on getting pregnant and want to stop the development of gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a dangerous condition that develops during pregnancy, but there are ways to prevent and handle it. You can follow a diabetic diet program and make lifestyle changes, like adding in physical activity. Additionally, certain nutrients can help maintain glycemic control and reduce your risk of gestational diabetes.

One way to control gestational diabetes is to become knowledgeable about the foods you should and should not eat during pregnancy. You need to know what regular lifestyle changes you can make to keep healthy blood glucose levels, and where to find support if you need it. If you're diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you want to take action immediately, as the adverse effects are severe. You can seek out the help of professionals who can design an effective treatment plan for you.

Gestational diabetes is one of the most common medical issues affecting pregnant women when blood glucose levels are too high. It can be diagnosed between your 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy.  This condition may result in a range of problems for the unborn baby. Although insulin secretion increases during the early phase of the pregnancy, insulin sensitivity are generally unchanged. However, at mid-pregnancy, insulin sensitivity begins to decline progressively. The decline gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. This is the reason why gestational diabetes usually develops in the late second trimester and then disappears immediately after ingestion.

For pregnant women, gestational diabetes increases their chances of developing diabetes after giving birth. A 2017 research study in JAMA Internal Medicine discovered that gestational diabetes is positively related to cardiovascular disease later in life.

See: Best Foods For Diabetics & Shopping List

Gestational diabetes symptoms

Women with gestational diabetes usually experience only minor symptoms such as being really thirsty, urinating often, and being tired and exhausted. At other times, they hardly notice signs of gestational diabetes that are different from typical pregnancy symptoms.  Because there are no distinct gestational diabetes symptoms, pregnant women undergo a regular glucose screening test that is performed between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. For women with high glucose levels in their urine during their routine prenatal visits, they may be tested for gestational diabetes sooner.

See: Gestational Diabetes Diet & Meal Plan

Gestational diabetes causes

It is not exactly clear why some Pregnant women develop gestational diabetes, and others do not. Elevated glucose levels cause gestational diabetes. Usually, after you eat something, your body digests the food to make glucose. The sugar enters your bloodstream. With the support of your pancreas, it moves into your body's cells so that it can be utilized for energy. During pregnancy, however, the placenta produces elevated levels of insulin-counteracting hormones. These hormones inhibit the activity of insulin in your body's cells, thereby raising your glucose levels.

Some women only experience modest elevations of blood glucose after eating, which is normal during pregnancy. But others are influenced by the development of the placenta and increase of hormones. These women go on to develop gestational diabetes, usually around 24 months of pregnancy.

See: Diet Plan for Gestational Diabetes in Third trimester

Conventional Treatment

There are several conventional remedies for gestational diabetes. Together with dietary changes and increased physical activity, the drugs or forms of treatment that may be used include insulin therapy, glyburide, and metformin. Women with gestational diabetes will need to monitor their blood glucose levels to remain in a healthy range. To do so, you just draw blood from your finger and put it onto a test strip that functions as a blood glucose meter. The meter will measure and display your glucose levels so you can be sure they are regular in the morning and after meals. Your doctor and health professionals can give you the right treatment options.

See: Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan for Vegetarians

Preventing or avoiding gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes prevention

 It's smart to start considering the danger of gestational diabetes until you are pregnant or during the early stages of pregnancy, particularly if you have a history of gestational diabetes or prediabetes, you're overweight, and have family members with Type 2 diabetes symptoms or have PCOS.

The best way to stop gestational diabetes is to achieve your ideal weight before becoming pregnant. Losing extra pounds and increasing physical activity are sure ways to lower your risk of gestational diabetes. The weight loss will enable your body to improve the way that it uses insulin for energy, and it'll allow you to maintain healthy glucose levels. If you're already pregnant, it isn't recommended that you attempt to shed weight.  During your pregnancy, you can concentrate on eating wholesome, nutrient-dense foods, so you don't gain excess weight.

Natural ways to prevent gestational diabetes

1. Diet Therapy: Your pregnancy diet is the most important element in preventing and managing gestational diabetes. Pregnant women need to have a diet that delivers adequate nutrition to be able to ensure their baby's and their well-being. Women that are pregnant mustn't consume too many calories, particularly empty calories from processed and junk foods, baked goods, and carbonated drinks. Achieving appropriate weight reduction is among the essential strategies to prevent and manage gestational diabetes. During pregnancy, excessive weight gain may cause adverse outcomes for both the mom and infant. Plus, it can even result in youth obesity to your little one. Here are some nutritional tips for managing or preventing gestational diabetes:

- Your caloric intake should only be 35 percent to 45 percent of your total calories every day. Distribute your carbohydrate intake over three meals and about two to three bites.

- Avoid eating carb-heavy foods, like a bagel, a bowl of pasta, a plate of pancakes, or a bowl of fruit. Be sure you're eating loads of high fiber foods, which can help slow down or reduce the release of insulin into the blood. Include fiber in your meals and snacks during the day. Some of the best choices include avocados, squash, beans, lentils, chia seeds, and flax seeds.

- Pair your carbs with quality protein so your body can more easily break down the carbohydrates. Some of the finest high protein foods to put in your diet include grass-fed beef, organic poultry, wild-caught salmon, eggs, yogurt, nuts, and bone broth.

- Use healthy fats in your recipes, such as ghee and grass-fed butter. These foods can help to burn fat and balance your blood sugar levels.

- Avoid sugary foods that will throw off your glucose levels. Simple, refined sugars found in soda, fruit juice, and other sweetened beverages are some of the worst offenders for women with gestational diabetes as they lead to rapid blood sugar spikes.

2. Physical Activity

Research shows that exercise may improve glycemic control in women with gestational diabetes. Moderate physical activity for half an hour per day or more is recommended for all pregnant women but especially those who have gestational diabetes, provided that there are not any medical complications. Some exercises beneficial for women with gestational diabetes includes brisk walking, arm exercises while seated in a seat, and prenatal yoga. Engaging in these forms of physical activity at least 10 minutes after each meal can help reduce the growth of glucose levels, helping women with gestational diabetes to attain their glycemic objectives.

3. Stress Management

Research shows that women with Gestational diabetes often experience stress and anxiety that is related to feeling as though they're losing control of their illness, having difficulty sticking to dietary adjustments, and experiencing the anxiety of maternal and infant complications. This risk of increased anxiety, stress, and signs of depression while pregnant is problematic because these mental health problems can affect your hormone levels, such as your insulin levels. Studies also reveal that stress, depression, and anxiety during pregnancy is associated with lower birth weight for babies and possible issues with infant growth. Experiencing stress and depression during pregnancy increases your chance of experiencing postpartum depression after giving birth.

To manage your stress levels, find a support group, a dietitian, yoga studio, or just a friend with gestational diabetes knowledge and can enable you to find relaxation and remain on track with your diet program. You should also concentrate on relieving tension and anxiety by making small lifestyle changes, such as taking walks out daily, trying prenatal yoga, meditating or practicing quiet prayer, journaling, or taking a hot bath with lavender oil. These little changes can allow you to remain focused on getting well and keeping your health for the duration of your pregnancy.

4. Vitamin-D Deficiency: Recent scientific studies of pregnant women show that vitamin-D deficiency during pregnancy has been correlated with a significantly increased risk for the development of gestational diabetes from the 2nd trimester. Increased insulin resistance was connected to vitamin-D deficiency and increased incidence of gestational diabetes.

If you're pregnant or considering pregnancy, then please have your vitamin-D levels, and metabolic markers for insulin resistance checked. If the vitamin D amount is below 50, try to supplement with vitamin-D to get your levels up near 50 nmol/L. In case you have evidence of insulin resistance or prediabetes, work with a physician or nutritionist who will put you on a suitable low glycemic load but nutrient-dense diet during your pregnancy. At my clinic, that's precisely how I'd approach a prediabetic pregnant individual together with vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D insufficiency is also linked to maternal obesity and adverse outcomes for both the mother and child. Even though the data is not conclusive, there have been studies that indicate that vitamin D supplementation can decrease the chance of developing gestational diabetes.  Vitamin D can also help to improve glycemic control in pregnant women that are diabetic and with low vitamin D levels.

5. Calcium

Higher dietary calcium intake has been associated with lowering the risk of gestational diabetes, according to research published in Public Health Nutrition in 2017. Compared with women who consumed less calcium, people who have higher calcium levels had a 42 percent lower risk of gestational diabetes. You can increase your calcium levels by eating calcium-rich foods like yogurt, cheese, cooked kale, broccoli, and almonds. There's a mixed study regarding the safety of calcium supplements and consuming very substantial levels of calcium, so speak with your physician before using supplements to raise your levels.



See: Ayurveda for stress & anxiety relief

Precautions

If you have gestational diabetes, you should work with your medical care provider to control your condition before the end of your pregnancy and even after giving birth. Work with your physician or a nutrition expert to establish a dietary and lifestyle plan. If you intend to use these natural methods to handle your gestational diabetes, take action under the care of your physician. Gestational diabetes may cause a lot of adverse effects for you and your baby, so it must be treated once you're diagnosed.

See: Meditation for Weight Loss-Try it

References

1. Wachstein M, Gudaitis A. Disturbance of vitamin B6 metabolism in pregnancy. II. The influence of various amounts of pyridoxine hydrochloride upon the abnormal tryptophane load test in pregnant women. J Lab Clin Med 1953;42:98.

2. Spellacy WN, Buhi WC Birk SA. Vitamin B6 treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus: Studies of blood glucose and plasma insulin. Am J Ob Gyn 1977;127(6):599-602

3. Sprince H, Lowy, RS, et al. Studies on the urinary excretion of "xanthurenic acid" during normal and abnormal pregnancy: A survey of the excretion of "xanthurenic acid" in normal nonpregnant, normal pregnant, pre-eclamptic, and eclamptic women. Am J Obstet Gyn. 1951;62:84.

4. Xiang A, et al. Association of Maternal Diabetes With Autism in Offspring. JAMA 2015;313(14):1425-1434.

5. Kotake Y, Ueda T, et al. The Physiological Significance of the Xanthurenic Acid-Insulin Complex J Biochem 1975;77:685-687

6. Bennink HJ, Schreurs WH. Improvement of oral glucose tolerance in gestational diabetes by pyridoxine. Br Med J. 1975 Jul 5;3(5974):13-5.

7. Vandelli, I. The use of vitamin B. (pyridoxine) for suppressing the elimination of xanthurenic acid in pregnant and non-pregnant women following the oral intake of a measured quantity of tryptophan. Acta vitamin. (Milano) 1951;5:55.

8. Wachstein M., Lobel S. Abnormal tryptophan metabolites in human pregnancy and their relation to deranged vitamin B, metabolism. Proc Soc Exp Biol (N.Y.) 1954;86:624.

9. Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy and gestational diabetes mellitus. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Sep;207(3):182.e1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.05.022. Epub 2012 Jun 1

10. Association between maternal serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and pregnancy and neonatal outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ 2013; 346 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1169 (Published 26 March 2013)

11. Brown RR, Thornton MJ, Price JM. The Effect of Vitamin Supplementation on the Urinary Excretion of Tryptophan Metabolites by Pregnant Women. J Clin Invest 1961

12. Ren S-G, Melmed S. Pyridoxal Phosphate Inhibits Pituitary Cell Proliferation And Hormone Secretion. Endocrinology 2006;147(8):3936-3942

See: Headache, Low Back Pain, and Stress with Bisoma Acupuncture

Get a Consultation
(650) 539-4545
Get more information via email