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How to Prevent Gestational Diabetes

Question

Is gestational diabetes preventable? If I do get it while I'm pregnant, what foods should I avoid?

Answer

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs in the latter half of pregnancy because hormones produced by the placenta make insulin less effective. Insulin is responsible for transferring glucose from the bloodstream to the muscles or organs that need it as an energy source.

Gestational diabetes is easily managed by diet, exercise, glucose monitoring, and sometimes insulin injections. A registered dietitian or another medical specialist should create an eating plan that limits your carbohydrate intake and sometimes your calorie intake as well. While gestational diabetes isn't caused by eating too many sweets, if you are diagnosed with it, you will probably need to avoid sugary foods. Soda, candy, cake, cookies, juice, and other sweet foods cause blood sugar to rise rapidly.

Remember, gestational diabetes resolves itself once you deliver your baby, although it may take a few days for your blood glucose levels to return to normal. If left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause impairments to fetal development, hypoglycemia in the newborn, and macrosomia (large baby), which makes delivery difficult.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.