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  • Sweet Success

    Help Managing Gestational Diabetes

    Diabetes that develops during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. Meeting with a registered dietitian and following a Sweet Success program can help women with gestational diabetes control their blood sugar and avoid complications during pregnancy and delivery.

    What can happen if my blood sugar levels aren't under control? 

    How is Gestational Diabetes detected? 

    How is Gestational Diabetes treated? 

    Where can I get help to control my blood sugar levels? 

    What is Gestational Diabetes?

    Gestational Diabetes (also known as GDM) is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, usually during the second trimester. Approximately 7% to 14% of all pregnant women develop gestational diabetes.

    If you have gestational diabetes, your blood sugar becomes elevated because of the foods that you eat and pregnancy hormones. Normally, the body changes food into a sugar called glucose. Insulin, which is a hormone that the body produces, helps to turn glucose into energy. With diabetes, either the body does not make enough insulin or it is not able to use insulin appropriately. As a result, the blood sugar goes up too high.

    What can happen if my blood sugar levels aren't under control?

    Careful control of your blood sugar and weight gain during pregnancy can help you avoid the following complications:

    • difficult delivery

    • high blood pressure

    • cesarean section (surgical delivery)

    and for the baby:

    • macrosomia (babies weighing more than 9 lbs. at birth)

    • newborn hypoglycemia

    • birth injury  

    • jaundice

    • breathing problems

    • premature birth (birth before 36 weeks)

    • stillbirth (when baby dies before birth) is possible when blood sugars are frequently elevated.

    How is Gestational Diabetes detected?

    All pregnant women should be tested with a blood glucose screening at 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. There are no special preparations or fasting required for this test.  About an hour after having a sweet drink, blood is drawn and tested. A test result of 140 or less is normal. A result greater than 140 is considered positive, and a 3-hour glucose tolerance test test may be required for confirmation.

    How is Gestational Diabetes treated?

    As part of the Sweet Success program you meet with a registered dietitian to help you create a meal plan that provides good nutrition and helps you control your blood sugar. Most women with gestational diabetes can control their blood sugar by diet alone. However, some need to inject insulin or take oral medication in order to maintain their blood sugar within normal limits.

    Gestational diabetes management includes:

    • eating the right foods at the right times

    • gaining weight slowly

    • exercising safely and regularly

    • keeping your blood sugar levels normal

    • testing and recording your blood sugar

    Where can I get help to control my blood sugar levels?

    Contact ABC Prenatal Program, NorthBay Healthcare OB/Gyn office, or ask your doctor.


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