Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy when the growing baby interferes with the mom’s insulin and as a result, blood glucose levels in the body rise to above normal levels.
If this continues throughout the pregnancy and remains unchecked, the baby is at risk for growing too big (“macrosemia”), having low blood glucose at birth, and jaundice.
For mom, problems could include cesarean section (to get that big baby out), high blood pressure and risk of type 2 diabetes later in life. So this is serious stuff!
Treatment includes monitoring of blood glucose levels, exercise, use of insulin as needed, appropriate weight gain and of course, the right diet.
And to that point, a recent review study (meaning many studies were looked at) published in Diabetes Care showed that women who ate a low glycemic index diet during their pregnancy were less likely to need insulin and their babies had lower birth weights, thereby avoiding the big baby and decreasing the need for cesarean section. The low glycemic index diet produced better results over a low carb or low calorie diet.
What is a low glycemic index diet? It basically means choosing foods that do not spike your blood sugar and insulin levels so you maintain a happy medium when it comes to your control. Read more about it here.
For more information about Gestational Diabetes, and to find out if you’re at risk, check out the Canadian Diabetes Association’s website.