You are the most important person in
determining whether you will have a healthy pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes, like any form of diabetes,
cannot be successfully treated with medicines alone.
diabetes educator, registered dietitian, and other health professionals
can help you learn how to care for yourself and protect your baby from
problems. If you learn as much as you can about gestational diabetes, you will
have the knowledge you need to have a healthy pregnancy. As you understand how
food and exercise affect your blood sugar, you can better control your blood
sugar level and help prevent problems from gestational diabetes.
Home treatment for gestational diabetes includes changing the way you
eat, exercising regularly, and checking your blood sugar.
Eating healthy foods
Changing what, when, and how much you eat can help
keep your blood sugar level in a target range. After you are diagnosed with gestational
diabetes, you will meet with a registered dietitian to decide on an
individualized healthy eating plan. Your dietitian may ask you to write down
everything you eat and to keep track of your weight. He or she will also teach
you how to count
carbohydrate in order to spread carbohydrate
throughout the day. For more information, see:
- Gestational Diabetes: Counting Carbs.
Getting regular exercise
exercise during pregnancy helps your body use
insulin better, which helps control your blood sugar
level. Often, exercising and eating well can treat gestational diabetes. Try to
do at least 2� hours a week of moderate exercise.4, 5 One way to do this is to be active
30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. It's fine to be active in blocks of
10 minutes or more throughout your day and week.
If you have never
exercised regularly or were not exercising before you became pregnant, talk
with your doctor before you start exercising. Exercise that does not place too
much stress on your lower body-such as using an arm ergometer, a machine that
just works your arm muscles; or riding a recumbent bicycle, a type of bike with
a seat that looks like a chair-are especially good for pregnant women. You may
also want to try special exercise classes for pregnant women or other
low-impact activities such as swimming or walking.
If exercise and changing the way you eat keep your
blood sugar within a target range, you will not need to take diabetes medicine. If you need to take insulin, make sure you have a
quick-sugar food with you when you exercise in case
symptoms of low blood sugar. If you think that your
blood sugar is low, stop exercising, check your blood sugar level, and eat the
Checking your blood sugar
important part of treating gestational diabetes is checking your blood sugar
level at home. Every day, you will do a
home blood sugar test one or more times. It may be overwhelming to
test your blood sugar so often. But knowing that your level is within a target range
can help put your mind at ease. Talk to your doctor about how often to test your blood sugar.
- Gestational Diabetes: Checking Your Blood Sugar
Other aspects of your care
- If changing the way you eat and exercising do
not control your blood sugar level, you may need to take daily insulin
- If you were overweight before you became pregnant, do not
try to lose weight while you are pregnant. Ask your doctor how much weight you
should gain during your pregnancy.
- Your doctor may have you check
kick counts and let him or her know if you think your
baby has been moving less than usual.
- If you take insulin, it can cause your blood sugar to
drop below the target range. Even though very low blood sugar is rare in women
who have gestational diabetes, it is important to know the
symptoms of low blood sugar and have quick-sugar foods
with you at all times. For more information, see:
- Gestational Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar.