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 909-630-7829 to schedule an appointment.

Pregnancy and the Flu: Prenatal Precautions to Note This Winter

Sick Pregnant Woman

During the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, a woman’s body begins to naturally repress its immune system. This allows immune cells to flood into the lining of the womb, which causes inflammation. While inflammation typically means pain and discomfort, this is a unique situation in which it actually helps ensure a successful pregnancy. It also helps support the growth and development of the fetus throughout the entire pregnancy.

The downside is that changes to the immune system along with changes in the heart and lungs during pregnancy make women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) much more vulnerable to severe illness from the flu. If these symptoms are left untreated, it could mean a trip to the emergency room.

The flu is not only harmful for pregnant women, but also their developing babies. A common flu symptom is fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects, congenital heart disease and certain facial deformities in babies.

How to avoid getting the flu while pregnant

  • Get your flu shot
  • Wash hands often and use hand sanitizer regularly
  • Wipe down surfaces (doorknobs, light switches, etc.)
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

Is it safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy?

Yes, it’s safe to get a flu shot during pregnancy. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend all women who are pregnant during flu season get vaccinated, regardless of which trimester they’re in. The flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of respiratory infection (commonly associated with influenza) in pregnant women by about 50 percent.

The skilled physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers (PVHC) offer comprehensive prenatal and OB care as well as the flu vaccine. Protect yourself and your growing baby this winter with prenatal care services from PVHC. If you’re concerned about your pregnancy and the flu, call 909-630-7829 to schedule an appointment today.

Your Pregnancy Step by Step

Your Pregnancy Step by Step

Pregnancy is a unique time in a woman’s life. There are a lot of physiological changes that take place to support a growing embryo or fetus. Pregnant women (and their placentas) produce different hormones that cause a broad range of changes like persistent nausea, breast pain, temporary darkening of your skin and many other common symptoms.

What happens to my body during pregnancy?

A full-term pregnancy typically lasts 40 weeks. During that time a woman’s body undergoes many temporary and sometimes unexpected transformations. The weeks are grouped into three trimesters:

  • First Trimester (Weeks 1-12)
    Hormonal changes during the first trimester affect every organ system in your body. During these first 12 weeks, your period will stop and you may experience extreme tiredness, tender breasts, nausea, constipation, frequent urination, headaches, heartburn, or mood swings. Your baby is also growing rapidly. His brain and spinal cord begin to develop as well as his major organs. This is a very crucial phase in your pregnancy and your baby’s development, and it is vital to meet your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Second Trimester (Weeks 13-28)
    The second trimester is often referred to as the ‘honeymoon period’ because nausea commonly subsides, emotions level out, and libido returns. During this time your abdomen begins to noticeably expand, making room for your growing baby. You will also start to gain weight, which is good for your growing baby but can mean aches, pains, and swelling for you. You will feel movement between 18-20 weeks as your baby’s arms and legs grow larger and stronger.
  • Third Trimester (Weeks 29-40)
    The third and final trimester often comes with insomnia and increased discomfort as your baby continues to grow and gain weight. Other common symptoms may include shortness of breath, heartburn, hemorrhoids, and swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face. Toward the end of this trimester you may notice your baby drop lower into your abdomen. Braxton Hicks or irregular contractions are very common during this trimester, but your doctor will educate you more on what is normal and what is not normal and should prompt you to go to the hospital.

As you move closer to your due date, your cervix will become thinner and softer and contractions will become stronger. This is a normal process that prepares your body for labor and delivery.

With all of these big, exciting changes happening in your body, it’s important to have a family doctor you feel comfortable with. Choosing a doctor that really knows you and your medical needs from puberty to pregnancy and beyond can provide you with uniquely individualized pregnancy care and services. Your doctor will likely care for your baby too, making this a unique experience for you and the family.

Pomona Valley Health Centers is proud to offer experienced, compassionate women’s health care at all four of our office locations. We provide pregnancy care, including for high-risk pregnancies, and have a multidisciplinary team approach to help you through this very important event in your life. If you’re in need of expert obstetric services for your pregnancy, trust your care to a board-certified Pomona Valley FM/OB doctor.

10 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy

10 Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy

If you haven’t already discovered, there is a lot of information that the Internet, books and family and friends are eager to share with you about pregnancy. It can be overwhelming, to say the least. How can you know what is best for you and your baby? Luckily, the doctors at Pomona Valley Health Centers have put together a list of the 10 essential things you need to know to have a healthy pregnancy.

10 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

We understand you want to do what’s best for you and your baby during your pregnancy. Here are our essential tips to help give your baby a great start to life:

Get early prenatal care

If you are planning to start a family, or have just found out that you are expecting, good prenatal care is essential for you and your baby. During your first visit, your doctor will be able to confirm your pregnancy and screen for certain medical conditions that could lead to complications.

Maintain a healthy diet

While it’s okay to occasionally give in to your cravings during pregnancy, it’s important to keep in mind that you typically only need an additional 300 calories per day. Make sure you are getting enough protein and calcium each day and avoid deli meats to prevent yourself from consuming bacteria that could harm your baby.

Take prenatal vitamins

Ask your doctor which prenatal vitamins are best for you and your baby, particularly how much folic acid and calcium you’ll need. Prenatal vitamins ensure you are giving your baby the important vitamins and nutrients it needs, like folic acid, iron, calcium and DHA. These vitamins play an important role in bone, vision and brain development.

Exercise regularly

Regular daily exercise increases your chance of having a vaginal delivery and helps you manage the common discomforts of pregnancy. Exercise can also aid in postpartum recovery. However, if you did not exercise regularly before becoming pregnant, check with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

Listen to your body

The first and third trimesters come with fatigue, which is your body’s way of telling you to take it easy. So, listen to your body and sit back with a good book or take a nap when you are feeling tired.

Eliminate alcohol and limit caffeine

It’s important to take good care of your body during pregnancy. We recommend you avoid alcohol, limit your caffeine intake and steer clear of any nonprescription drugs throughout your pregnancy. Indulging in alcohol can adversely affect your baby’s brain or spinal development, too much caffeine has been linked to a higher instance of miscarriage, and nonprescription drugs can lead to birth defects or behavioral problems.

Limit your exposure

If you work around chemicals or other substances known to cause birth defects, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your baby. It’s also important to use non-toxic household cleaning solutions throughout your pregnancy to limit your risk of exposure.

Visit your dentist

Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can leave you with an increased risk of gingivitis. Increased progesterone and estrogen levels interact with the bacteria in plaque, leading to swollen, tender or bleeding gums.

Wear sunscreen

Your skin is more susceptible to sunburn and chloasma (dark, blotchy spots on the face) when you are pregnant, so it’s important to apply a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or higher and avoid tanning beds.

Know when to call the doctor

If you have any of the following symptoms, the Center for Disease Control recommends contacting your doctor:

  • Vaginal bleeding or leaking of fluid
  • Contractions that are 20 minutes apart or less
  • Pain of any kind
  • Strong cramps
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Decreased activity of the baby
  • Shortness of breath

Our team is dedicated to providing expert care for women during every stage of their lives — from adolescence, to preparing for childbirth, to menopause and beyond. For more information about our women’s health services, contact us today at 909-865-9152.