Type 2 Diabetes – Healthy Lifestyle Changes Benefit Women With Gestational Diabetes

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Women with Gestational or pregnancy-related diabetes can improve both their own and their child’s health with lifestyle interventions, according to a report published in May of 2017 in the Cochrane Database System Review. Investigators at the University of Auckland and several other research facilities in New Zealand and the UK combined the results of fifteen studies and analyzed them as if they were one large study. The mega-study included a total of 4501 women diagnosed with Gestational diabetes and their 3768 infants. Lifestyle changes included…

  • diet,
  • exercise,
  • self-monitoring of blood sugar, and
  • education.

A control group received the usual care.

Women who made lifestyle changes had a 75 percent higher rate of reaching their weight goals one year after giving birth than the mothers in the control group. The lifestyle change group also had a 51 percent lower risk of becoming depressed after childbirth. Babies from the lifestyle change group had a lower risk of being overweight at birth and had less fat mass than those in the non-change group.

None of the trials looked at long-term health in the children. The workers concluded lifestyle change was helpful for controlling the mother’s weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is one way of preventing Gestational diabetes and preventing overweight and excess fat in their children. They went on to say long-term studies are needed to give us more information on the babies of mothers diagnosed with Gestational diabetes.

The University of California in San Francisco, United States, recommends women with Gestational diabetes plan their diets with the assistance of dietitians and…

  • limit carbohydrates to the equivalent of two slices of bread at every meal.
  • avoid sugary snacks and desserts.
  • limit fruit to three portions each day and eat at different meals.
  • eat the daily amount of food in three meals and two snacks to help keep blood sugar levels stable.
  • avoid fruit juices, and
  • keep dietary records.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is positive about controlling Gestational diabetes using a healthy diet and exercise. In general, 30 minutes of moderate exercise is healthy for the majority of pregnant women…

  • all pregnant women should be medically evaluated before planning a course of exercise.
  • women who have been sedentary before pregnancy need to plan especially carefully to avoid any unaccustomed strain.

Some sports are acceptable, but sports in which body contact or falls are common should be prevented. Scuba diving needs to be avoided because decompression sickness can be fatal to the unborn baby.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.

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