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How Gestational Diabetes Affects You & Your Baby

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What You Can Do: Step by Step

By teaming up with your doctor or midwife, you can do a lot of things to keep gestational diabetes under control. Good treatment dramatically lowers the chance of complications.

  • Eat healthy. Work with a dietitian or diabetes educator to plan meals and snacks that keep your blood sugar in a healthy range. You'll need to limit how many carbohydrates you eat and drink, because they can cause your blood sugar to spike. Avoid high-sugar foods such as soda and pastries.
  • Exercise. Get some physical activity every day to help manage blood sugar. Make your goal 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. For gentle exercise, try walking or swimming. Ask your doctor or midwife for advice.
  • Keep your medical appointments. Skipping check-ups could put your health and your baby's at risk. Your baby may need to be checked regularly in the doctor's office with ultrasounds or non-stress tests.
  • Take prescribed medication. You may need insulin or other medications to keep your blood sugar under control. Follow your doctor's or midwife’s recommendations. Make sure you understand how and when to use your medications.
  • Test your blood sugar. It can be a key way to watch your health. Your doctor or midwife may ask you to test your blood sugar several times a day.
  • Watch for signs of blood sugar changes. Make sure you know what to do when you notice them.

When to Call Your Doctor or Midwife

If you have gestational diabetes, part of your job is to monitor your health. If any of the following things happen to you, check in with your doctor.

  • You get sick and can't follow your eating plan.
  • You have symptoms of high blood sugar: trouble concentrating, headaches, increased thirst, blurred vision, or weight loss.
  • You have symptoms of low blood sugar: anxiety, confusion, dizziness, headaches, hunger, racing pulse or pounding heart, feeling shaky or trembling, pale skin, sweating, or weakness.
  • You tested your blood sugar at home, and it’s above or below your target range.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on February 21, 2013
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