Gestational Diabetes and how to manage it

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs in women while they are pregnant. Typically, they did not have diabetes before pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes have elevated blood sugar levels. Often, after a woman gives birth the diabetes subsides. A woman diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, if the diabetes does not go away.

Why does it happen?

While we don’t know the exact cause of gestational diabetes, we suspect hormones play a large role (2).  While pregnant, your placenta produces certain hormones that increase insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone, secreted by the pancreas, that absorbs glucose from your blood into your cells to be used for energy. When your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to compensate for the amount of hormones being secreted by your placenta, your blood sugar rises and cause gestational diabetes. Hence, why when you get rid of your placenta after birth, gestational diabetes typically will go away.

How do I manage it?

Fortunately you can manage gestational diabetes through lifestyle changes, blood glucose monitoring, and medication if necessary. Optimal diets include whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, fresh fruit, and vegetables. The combination of eating foods with protein, fiber (from whole grains, fruit, and vegetables) and healthy fats help slow the breakdown of food in your stomach so glucose can be gradually released into your bloodstream. Therefore, you can avoid a spike in blood sugar. In addition to diet, physical activity helps create insulin sensitivity which allows for better absorption of glucose from the blood.

Physical activity in moderation is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. For women with gestational diabetes, it also helps the insulin in their body work better.  It can be an effective way to help control blood sugar levels. Moderate physical activity is not the same as daily, routine activities, such as shopping, doing household chores, or washing dishes. Activities such as walking, prenatal aerobics class, or swimming can help control blood sugar levels. (1) Hire a trainer to help you achieve your goals.

7 Healthy Snacks after Workout 

  1. Chia pudding: Try this easy Chia Pudding recipe made with milk (or dairy free milk of your choice), chia seeds, fruit, and a dash of cinnamon and vanilla.
  2. Hard boiled egg and avocado toast: Top half of a slice of whole grain toast with 1 thinly sliced boiled egg and 2 slices of avocado. Sprinkle on a spice mix like ground coriander and turmeric. You can also drizzle on lemon juice, sea salt, and red pepper flakes for a little kick.
  3. Greek yogurt: No need to buy those expensive whey protein powders.  Greek yogurt has one of the highest concentrations of whey protein you can get in its original form.  Opt for the 2% varieties rather than the fat-free, which often require sweeteners like syrup and honey.
  4. Turkey, cheese and thinly sliced green apple stacks: Simple, but balanced.  It’s best to buy sliced fresh turkey, but if all you have is the processed, just warm it until it is steaming hot to make sure it is safe to eat.
  5. Homemade energy bites: Try this yummy recipe for homemade no-bake energy bites.  The combination of oats, nut butter and seeds make these bites a delicious blend of fiber, protein, and healthy fat.
  6. Dates & peanut butter: Take 2-3 pitted dates and spread each with 1 teaspoon of creamy peanut butter.
  7. Unprocessed energy bars: If on the run and in need of a ready-made snack, one great option is a Raw Crunch bar.

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