Gestational Diabetes (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Finding out that you have gestational diabetes can be scary. It can be reassuring to know that most women who have gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies and that you are the most important person in promoting a healthy pregnancy.
Treatment for gestational diabetes involves making healthy choices. Most women who make changes in the way that they eat and how often they exercise are able to keep their blood sugar level within a target range. Controlling your blood sugar is the key to preventing problems during pregnancy or birth.
You, your doctor, and other health professionals will work together to develop a treatment plan just for you. You do not need to eat strange or special foods. But you may need to change what, when, and how much you eat. You also do not need to start a fancy exercise program or join an expensive gym. Walking several times a week can really help your blood sugar.
The lifestyle changes you make now will help you have a healthy pregnancy and prevent diabetes in the future. As you start making these changes, you will learn more about your body and how it reacts to food and exercise. You may also notice that you feel better and have more energy.
Treatment for gestational diabetes during pregnancy includes:
Most doctors will recommend that you breast-feed, if possible, for the health benefits for you and your baby. For example, breast-feeding can help keep your child at a healthy weight, which may reduce his or her chances of developing diabetes. It provides antibodies to strengthen your baby's immune system, and it lowers your baby's risk for many types of infections. And it may lower your chances of developing diabetes later in life. For more information, see:
During labor and delivery
Most women who have gestational diabetes are able to have their babies vaginally. Just because you have gestational diabetes does not mean that you will need to have a cesarean section (C-section).
Because a baby that has grown too large can be difficult to deliver safely, your doctor will do fetal ultrasounds to check the size of your baby. If your doctor thinks that your baby is in danger of being too large, he or she may decide to induce labor or do a C-section.
During labor and delivery, you and your baby are monitored closely. This includes:
After delivery, you and your baby still need to be monitored closely.
What to think about
Most of the time, the blood sugar levels of women who have gestational diabetes return to normal in a few hours or days after delivery.
If you have had gestational diabetes, you are at risk for having it again in a future pregnancy. You are also at risk of type 2 diabetes, a permanent type of diabetes. The healthy choices and changes you made during your pregnancy, if continued, will help you prevent diabetes in the future. If you are worried about type 2 diabetes in yourself or in your child, talk to your doctor about your concerns. If you want to learn more about type 2 diabetes, see the topic Type 2 Diabetes.
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