How Sweet the Success: Ten Tips for Managing Diabetes and Pregnancy

Pregnant woman receiving a diabetes test

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high. It can occur before, during or after pregnancy and may cause a number of health problems for you and your developing baby.

Seven out of 100 women will develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. Diabetes that occurs during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes and typically resolves itself soon after delivery. However, this leads to an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Ten Tips for Managing Diabetes During Pregnancy

To help keep you and your baby healthy, it’s important to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible—before, during and after pregnancy. Here are useful tips for managing diabetes throughout your pregnancy:

  1. Eat smaller meals, more often
    Eat three meals and 2-3 healthy snacks every day to help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Each meal should have a selection of complex carbohydrates, leafy green vegetables and fiber. It’s also important to limit saturated fats and avoid food and drinks that contain a lot of sugar.
  2. Don’t skip breakfast
    Pregnancy hormones are often strongest in the morning, which can cause your blood sugar levels to rise even before you eat. A breakfast of whole grains and protein is usually best.
  3. Eat more fiber
    Whole grain bread, rice, whole oats, barley or any other whole grains high in fiber will help keep blood sugar levels lower than refined grains (e.g., white bread and white rice). Other high fiber food options include split peas, lentils and beans.
  4. Measure starchy foods
    Starchy foods are important, but they may increase your blood sugar levels if eaten in excess. Measure your starchy foods at mealtime to avoid complications. A reasonable serving size is about one cup of cooked rice, grain, noodles or potatoes, or two pieces of bread per meal.
  5. Measure fruit portions
    Fruit is nutritious, but it contains natural sugars that can elevate blood sugar levels. Eat only one small portion of fruit at mealtime like one cup of mixed fruit. It’s also important to avoid fruit that has been canned in syrup or fruit juice.
  6. Limit milk intake
    Milk is healthy, a great source of calcium and good for your baby. But too much at one time can lead to high blood sugar levels.
  7. Avoid sugar
    Do not add any sugar, honey or syrup to your foods.
  8. Stay active
    Engage in moderate physical activity that raises your heart rate each day. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning this or any new exercise routine.
  9. Lose excess weight before pregnancy
    Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight before pregnancy is especially important if you have diabetes or a family history of gestational diabetes.
  10. Read nutrition labels closely
    Though certain foods may advertise that they’re sugar-free, sugar alcohols may be used instead. Check the food labels total grams of carbohydrates.

If you’d like to learn more about managing your diabetes during pregnancy­—or need help managing your diabetes before you get pregnant—the skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers can help. Call 909-536-1493 to schedule an appointment.

American Diabetes Month: Who Is at Risk for Diabetes?

American Diabetes Month: Who Is at Risk for Diabetes?

November is American Diabetes Month, a time dedicated to increasing awareness of diabetes and its impact on millions of people. In fact, 1 in 7 Americans struggle with this disease every day and as many as seven million people are undiagnosed. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, nerve damage, or other more serious health conditions like kidney disease.

Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States, which is driving the growing number of people with diabetes, but there is hope. People with type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than 50 percent if they make healthy changes like maintaining a healthy diet, getting more regular exercise and losing weight.

Three types of diabetes and their risk factors

The three major types of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 – Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood and is a lifelong condition often caused by genetics, diseases of the pancreas, infection or illness.
  • Type 2 ­– Type 2 diabetes usually affects adults, but it can begin at any time in your life. Having Type 2 diabetes means your body is unable to use the insulin it makes. The main risk factors include:
    • Obesity or being overweight
    • Impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes)
    • Insulin resistance
    • Ethnic background (nonwhite women are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes)
    • Gestational diabetes
    • Sedentary lifestyle
    • Family history
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
    • Age (people over the age of 45 who are overweight are at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes)
  • Gestational – Gestational diabetes occurs in approximately four percent of all U.S. pregnancies and is caused by hormones made by the placenta or a lack of insulin. Things that can lead to gestational diabetes include:
    • Obesity or being overweight
    • Glucose intolerance
    • Family history
    • Age (older women are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes)
    • Ethnic background

How to delay or prevent diabetes

Whatever your risk factors are, there are four key things you can do to delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise daily
  • Eat a balanced diet

If you or a loved one is struggling with diabetes and you’d like to learn more about the easy and important lifestyle changes you can make to manage your diabetes and lower your risk for other diseases and conditions, contact PVHC at 909-536-1493.