What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy and can increase the complicationsWhat is Gestational Diabetes? during pregnancy and birth for both mother and baby. During pregnancy, an increased level of hormones made in the placenta helps shift nutrients from mom to the developing baby.

Over the course of pregnancy, these hormones lead to progressive impaired glucose intolerance or high blood sugar levels. To try to decrease blood sugar levels, the mother’s pancreas is able to produce more insulin to overcome the effects of the increased hormones.

However, if the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to overcome the effect, the blood sugar levels will rise resulting in gestational diabetes.

Complications of Diabetes and Pregnancy

In early stages of pregnancy, a mother’s diabetes can result in birth defects and increased chance of a miscarriage. The birth defects that can occur will usually affect major organs such as the brain and heart. Gestational Diabetes can lead to excess growth of the baby which will increase risks during labor and delivery. Children of pregnancies affected by GD will also have a greater risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. As for mom’s that experience GD, their chances are seven times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the next 10 to 20 years.

Diet for Gestational Diabetes

Your diet is very important during pregnancy and especially if you are at risk for GD. Eating the right kinds of foods and the right amount will help control blood sugar. A diet that is balanced in protein (chicken, turkey or fish), complex carbohydrates (vegetables, fruits and whole grains), and good fats (like olive oil and avocados) can decrease your risk of GD. The key is to avoid or eat in moderation simple carbohydrates such as white bread, potatoes, pasta and any foods that contain refined sugars (cake, cookies and ice cream). Eating foods that are high in fiber (fruits, vegetables and nuts) will slow the absorption of sugar. Fruits are full of nutrients and natural sugar that my help satisfy the sugar cravings.

Grazing or eating 5 to 6 small meals each day will keep your glucose levels remain stable. By not letting yourself get really hungry before eating helps avoid over eating as well. Portion size is important and a simple rule for one serving is what can fit in the palm of your hand.

The human body is more than 60% water so it’s essential that your intake, pregnant or not, to drink 1/2oz per pound of your body weight. Our blood is 92% water and our brain and muscles are 75% water. So in order to have everything function properly, especially when you’re growing a baby, make sure you get what’s needed everyday.

Fruit juice and soda do not count in fact any beverage with caffeine will dehydrate you so if you drink a 12 oz soda you should make that up with 24 oz of water.

Lowering Your Risk for Gestational Diabetes

Besides your diet exercising can be the best thing you can do to prevent Gestational Diabetes. Being active at least 30 minutes, five days a week will help burn calories and keep your weight at a healthy level. Encourage the family to incorporate a healthy lifestyle by eating more fruits and vegetables, smaller portions through out the day and keep moving.

A Healthier You Robin holds classes to help you achieve optimal health before, during and after pregnancy. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 760-519-0038 for more info. “A Healthier You” will cover:
  • Simple steps for healthier eating
  • What the food manufactures aren’t telling you
  • How to have healthier babies and children by incorporating easy solutions to your diet
Taught by Robin Badillo, a Certified Health Coach. Seating is limited so you must pre-register by calling our office at 760-519-0038.

More about Gestational Diabetes

Video Transcript: My main motivation when I found out I had gestational diabetes was to stay healthy for my family for my son. My family has experienced type two diabetes. My mother had gestational diabetes and she was diagnosed with type two diabetes after she had my sisters. She actually didn't even know that she could do anything to prevent her type two diabetes.

I watched my mother and what she went through. She lost her eyesight. She had kidney problems. And that was the only motivation I needed to take charge of my life.

Having gestational diabetes does put me at a higher risk of being diagnosed with type two diabetes and it also puts my son at risk for type two diabetes. Some of the things that I do now to prevent type two diabetes is I exercise and I eat healthier meals I watch portion size, we don't eat out too much. I am very fortunate my husband is my chef and we eat in a lot, we cook a lot.

Because I had gestational diabetes my son is at risk for getting type two diabetes. So it is critical that I communicate with the pediatrician so that we can all play an active role in preventing diabetes. It's not easy for a child to adapt to healthy styles. So we introduced healthy foods and we tried to invent new ways of sneaking in like squash and it works out okay, he tries that he likes it and he eats it.

Some of the things that we do as a family to stay active is we take walks in the neighborhood go to the park play basketball anything that'll keep us together and active; that's what's important for us. One of the things that keeps me motivated is my husband if I getfrustrated or I stop he's right there for me to remind me of how important I am in his life. And then I also I have to stay healthy for my son. He is my biggest motivator I have to be around for him throughout his life as well.

My advice to women who have had a history of gestational diabetes is to get tested and to work closely with their medical team. To learn more about gestational diabetes and preventing type two diabetes visit YourDiabetesInfo.org

I'm Sandra Aguilar Scott and my family is preventing type two diabetes.