Diabetes affects more than 1 in 10 Americans, and 2-10% of pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes, which is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy.
If you have diabetes during pregnancy — either because you had it before you got pregnant or because you developed it during pregnancy — you must manage it carefully to protect yourself and your baby from pregnancy complications such as preterm birth.
Fortunately, some basic diabetes management strategies can go a long way toward helping you and your baby.
Here, our obstetrical care providers at Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas — including our experienced doctors and our caring certified nurse midwives — outline some important steps you can follow on a daily basis to keep your diabetes under control and optimize your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
Step 1: Eat smart
A healthy eating plan is good for you, your baby, and your blood sugar control. Aim to eat meals containing healthy amounts of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts, and legumes. Avoid processed foods, high-sugar foods, and nutritionally empty snacks.
If your diabetes diagnosis is recent, consider meeting with a certified diabetes educator or a registered dietitian who can guide you on meal planning personalized for your health needs. Ask us for a referral.
A certified diabetes educator can also teach you about monitoring your blood sugar and using insulin, if you need it.
Step 2: Be active
In addition to helping you maintain a healthy pregnancy, daily activity assists in keeping your blood sugar in check. If we approve, aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity such as walking or swimming.
Some women should limit activity during pregnancy. We let you know how much activity is safe for you and your baby.
Step 3: Gain the recommended amount of weight
It’s important for every woman to gain the just-right amount of weight during pregnancy — not too much and not too little. But gaining the recommended amount of weight is even more important if you have diabetes, because weight gain can affect your risk of developing certain complications.
The target weight gain varies due to several factors. If you’re not sure how much weight you should gain, ask your provider.
Step 4: See your providers as recommended
Whether you have preexisting diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2) or you developed diabetes after you became pregnant, it’s essential for you to get the medical care and supervision you need.
See your pregnancy care provider regularly, and if you have a diabetes specialist or endocrinologist, see them as directed too. Regular checkups help keep you and your baby healthy, as well as uncover any potential complications early.
Most women with diabetes have successful pregnancies and healthy babies. By taking good care of yourself and following your providers’ care advice, you can lower the risk of diabetes-related pregnancy complications.
To schedule a visit at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool to book an appointment. We also offer telehealth appointments.