Five healthy tips for those who suffer from gestational diabetes

Today, 14th November, Gestational Diabetes World Day, we take the opportunity to share them with all women in this situation

We speak about gestational diabetes when it is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy, no matter if it happens at the beginning of the pregnancy, after a couple of months or during the final months of the pregnancy instead. The effects that diabetes may have on the patient do not change much depending on the analysed glycaemia’s values or the need to use insulin. However, once it has been detected that the mother-to-be has gestational diabetes, the gynaecologist shall refer the patient to the Diabetes Unit, where they will evaluate the situation in order to decide whether a dietetic or an insulin treatment will be needed during pregnancy.

The patient must be very strict and careful with all the blood checks before and one hour after each meal, as well as with the self-assessed capillary glycaemia controls and the capillary blood glucose measured with a glucometer. When these results are monitored, the situation should be easily under control, but in any case it’s always useful to follow five healthy tips that should help the patient to get along with gestational diabetes all the way through the pregnancy. Today, Gestational Diabetes World Day, we take the opportunity to share them with all women in this situation.

Normocaloric diet

When having gestational diabetes, the most important thing is to bear in mind that nutrition must be accurately monitored, for instance the number of calories we consume. The diabetic patient’s diet is normocaloric, which means it has to contain between 1700 and 2500 calories per day.

Meal composition

From those calories, 20% should be made up of proteins, 25% of fat and, finally, the remaining 55% should be made up of carbohydrates. This way we increase the fibre consumption, which decelerates the gastric emptying and the intestinal absorption, and we reduce as much as possible the cholesterol and the saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Weight gain

We have to take into consideration the fact that the weight gain should move between 9 and 10 kilogrammes and no less than 7 kilogrammes for overweight patients.

Breaks between the different meals

In addition to the scale to weigh the ingredients that are eaten and strictly control the weight of the future mother, the clock is another object that gains importance in these cases. Overnight, not more than 8 hours should go by fasting and, between intakes, it is necessary to maintain an interval of 3 hours, or even half an hour more after the main meal.

Physical exercise

Finally, as usual, we recommend the patients to exercise regularly, which allows them to increase the glucose consumption and, when needed, to improve the insulin sensibility. Walking for 40 minutes or an hour a day is ideal, as well as exercising the upper extremities with the help of activities in the pool with a lesser impact on uterus, avoiding the triggering of contractions and the decreasing of its oxygenation. This last recommendation is the only one among the 5 reviewed habits that, in some situations, can be limited. The causes that can lead to having to reduce physical exercise are the possible appearance of uterine contractions and a decreased fetal oxygenation.

Women diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy shall have an evaluation after delivery, in order to detect whether it really was gestational diabetes or an undetected previous diabetes instead.