Diabetes in Pregnant Women

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, Diabetes in Pregnant Women, Dr. Nicolle

One significant way diabetes can be different in a woman is when she is pregnant. This is not just gestational diabetes, which a woman can get only while she is pregnant, but there are also risk for women who have type 2 diabetes before becoming pregnant.

 

Becoming Pregnant with Diabetes

The first thing you should know about diabetes and being pregnant is that not only is gestational diabetes a risk, but if you already have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and become pregnant, you need to be even more conscious about your diet and lifestyle. If you become pregnant, talk to your doctor right away. Don’t wait too long, as you need to monitor your blood sugar levels even more closely than you were previously. Your doctor may be stricter about your diet, ensuring you are eating all low GI foods that won’t increase your blood glucose levels. Also go over your diabetes medications with your doctor to ensure they are still safe to take while you are pregnant.

, Diabetes in Pregnant Women, Dr. Nicolle

About Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes you will only get while you are pregnant. The good news is that it should go away after you have your baby or are no longer pregnant. However, you need to be cautious while pregnant with diabetes and watch your diet very closely. Gestational diabetes causes more sugar in your blood just like with type 2 diabetes, therefore the risk factors and treatments are also the same. Medications might not be safe during pregnancy, so you should focus more on your diet, getting enough exercise, and reducing your stress levels while pregnant.

 

Taking Care of Yourself and Baby

If you are pregnant with any form of diabetes, taking good care of your health and your baby should be top priority. It can be hard making a big switch in your diet if you get gestational diabetes, but remember this is important for your growing baby and your own health. Simple changes like switching to fruit instead of sugary foods and beverages, eating whole grains, and eating a more balanced diet can make a big difference. Plus following a diabetic diet now can prevent you from getting type 2 diabetes later on, even after you are no longer pregnant.

 

Make sure you continue having your blood sugar monitored closely by your doctor if you are diagnosed with any form of diabetes when you are pregnant.

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, Diabetes in Pregnant Women, Dr. Nicolle

 

I wanted to talk about this topic because it is absolutely possible to prevent and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes (but you cannot reverse Type 1).  Yes, it’s possible! and emerging studies looking at lifestyle medicine and prevention support this! But I always tell my patients that you must be dedicated and diligent in adopting a healthy lifestyle to get the best results. You can create certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, to help break the cycle of this chronic disease so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve your blood sugar levels, maybe reverse type 2 diabetes. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.

 

Tools For Diabetes Prevention and Monitoring

Blood Sugar Monitoring

As you know, I always stress the importance of taking control of your health. Monitoring your blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to do this. To do this, a single drop of blood is collected with disposable lancets and placed on a disposable test strip, which you insert into a home blood-sugar monitoring device, called a glucometer.

 

The common times for checking your blood sugar are when you first wake up (fasting), before a meal, 2 hours after a meal, and at bedtime; however, you should check your blood sugar as many times a day as your health care team suggests.

 

Monitoring your blood sugar level provides you and your doctors with important knowledge about how food, activity, medication, stress, and other elements might affect your blood sugar levels. This data will assist you and your doctor in developing a therapy plan that is suited to your demands.

 

There are several types of blood glucose meters, lancets, and test strips to choose from. I often recommend this glucometer, lancets, and test strips.

Glucometer

OneTouch Ultra 2 Blood Glucose Meter 1Test Strips

OneTouch Ultra Test Strips 1 Lancets

OneTouch UltraSoft Lancets 1

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases such as diabetes, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices):


Body Composition Monitor And Scale With Seven Fitness Indicators
, Diabetes in Pregnant Women, Dr. Nicolle

Body Composition Monitor And Scale With Seven Fitness IndicatorsPhysical Activity

Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity actually improves insulin sensitivity. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.

 

I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.

 

Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.

 

Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Here are some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.

 

Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling: 

, Diabetes in Pregnant Women, Dr. Nicolle

Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet and regular physical activity are the best ways to prevent diabetes. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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