Gestational Diabetes (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is gestational diabetes?
- What causes gestational diabetes?
- What are risk factors for gestational diabetes?
- What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?
- How is gestational diabetes diagnosed?
- What are the consequences of gestational diabetes for the baby and mother?
- What is the treatment for gestational diabetes?
- Is there a special diet for a woman with gestational diabetes?
- Can gestational diabetes be prevented?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for gestational diabetes?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What is the treatment for gestational diabetes?
It is important to receive proper treatment for gestational diabetes, since research studies have shown that the incidence of problems and complications is decreased when treatment plans are followed. Treatment for gestational diabetes involves attention to maintaining a proper diet and exercise as advised by your doctor. Nutritional therapy is the first approach, and many women will achieve adequate glucose control by following a nutritional plan.
Testing your blood glucose levels at home at specific times or after meals as recommended by your doctor will determine if your glucose levels are within recommended limits. Testing at least four times per day is typical. You may also be asked to test your urine for ketones, substances that are produced when your body metabolizes fat. Ketones are elevated when the body is unable to use glucose for energy.
If diet and exercise are not sufficient to maintain good control of your blood glucose levels, you may need to take insulin. Insulin is the only approved medication used to treat gestational diabetes in the U.S.; however, some clinicians may choose to use an oral agent to control the blood sugar in some patients. As the pregnancy progresses, your insulin needs may change and insulin doses may have to be adjusted.
Is there a special diet for a woman with gestational diabetes?
While there is no one diet that is recommended for women with gestational diabetes, following a meal plan can help keep your blood sugar levels under control and avoid complications.
- A nutritionist can help you design a meal plan that works for your schedule and preferences.
- Eating a variety of foods is recommended, and it is better to eat smaller portions throughout the day (such as 3 small to moderate meals and 2-4 snacks) rather than just a few large meals.
- Many women with gestational diabetes will be advised to eat fewer carbohydrates than in their normal diet and to eat complex carbohydrates that contain fiber. It’s important to limit consumption of foods and drinks with simple sugars like soda, juice, and desserts.
- High-fiber foods like fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole-grain products, are not only nutritious but also help keep blood sugar levels stable.
- Skipping meals is not recommended since this further promotes fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
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