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9 Intelligent Ways to Prevent Gestational Diabetes

Updated on February 16, 2018

How to Prevent Gestational Diabetes

Being active is one way to prevent gestational diabetes
Being active is one way to prevent gestational diabetes | Source

Introduction

Gestational diabetes affects some women when they are pregnant. This disease occurs when the cells of some pregnant women become very resistant to insulin, the hormone that makes excess glucose move from the blood into the cells of the body. Consequently, the sugar level in the blood becomes very high and this can cause problems for the mother and the baby.

So, what can a woman do to prevent gestational diabetes?

Eat A Reasonable Amount Of Carbohydrates In Your Diet

Ensure that you consume a reasonable portion of carbohydrates in your breakfast, lunch, and supper. This will help to prevent your sugar level from spiking.

For example, you may eat two medium slices of bread for breakfast. For lunch, eat one cup of brown rice or a cup of wheat. Then for your dinner, you may choose to eat a cup of sorghum or millet.

Let 50% Of Your Diet Be Low Glycemic Sources of Carbohydrates

Foods which have a low Glycemic Index release sugar slowly into the blood, thereby preventing the sugar level in the blood from spiking.

Examples of such foods are

  • non-starchy vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, kontomire, bokoboko, egg- plant, cucumber, tomato, and aubergine. Add 1 cup of chopped or leafy vegetables to your meals.
  • Nuts such as tigernuts, Brazilnuts, almond nuts, pistachio nuts, pecans, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, and shea nuts. Eat a handful of these nuts, or 25 grams, every day.
  • Seeds such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, water melon seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds. Eat 1 tablespoon of these seeds three times a day.
  • Fruits which are low in sugar, such as raspberries, strawberries, black berries, lemon, lime, kiwis, grapefruit, avocado, watermelon, nectarines, peaches, oranges, apples, and apricots. Eat at most three portions of these fruits every day— ½ of a large piece of fruit in the morning, ½ cup of mixed fruit in the afternoon, and a piece of small fruit in the evening.

Avoid High Glycemic Sources Of Carbohydrates

Some studies suggest that foods which have a high Glycemic Index can increase a pregnant woman’s risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Foods which have a high glycemic index release sugar into the blood very quickly and so can raise one’s sugar level rapidly, thereby increasing that person’s risk of developing gestational diabetes. Examples of such foods are pasta, baked potato, white rice, corn flakes, white bread, meat-pie, noodles, macaroni, pizza and other refined carbohydrates. Try to avoid eating these kinds of foods.

Avoid Fruits Which Contain a Lot Of Sugar

Fruits such a bananas, papaya, guava, pomegranates, mangoes, fresh figs, dates, raisins, dried prunes, dried figs, dried cranberries, and dried blueberries should be avoided because they can raise your blood sugar level significantly.

Control Your Weight

According to a study published by the US National Institutes of Health, gaining weight between 0.27 and 0.4 kilograms in a week (or gaining weight between 0.60 and 0.88 pounds in a week) can increase a pregnant woman’s risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus.

Additionally, a woman with a BMI greater than 35 has a five times greater risk of developing gestational diabetes than a woman who has a healthy weight.

So, work hard to maintain your weight at healthy levels—exercise regularly, avoid fatty meats, avoid eating fatty foods, eat foods with a lot of fiber such as whole grains, and avoid sugary drinks.

Let 30% Of Your Diet Be Fats And Protein

A study carried out by the University of California- San Francisco has discovered that serotonin, a chemical found in the body, influences the prevention of gestational diabetes.

Increased intake of foods rich in protein during early pregnancy causes higher production of serotonin in the body. Higher serotonin levels cause the release of higher levels of insulin which counterbalances insulin resistance that normally occurs when a woman is pregnant. Consequently, the cells of the woman’s body can take up excess glucose from the blood so that normal levels of glucose will remain in the blood of the mother’s body.

Fats and protein tend to stabilize blood sugar, thereby preventing high blood sugar which can increase a woman’s risk of developing this disease.

Meat such as rabbit meat, chicken, duck meat, geese, Guinea fowl, lean beef, lean pork, fish such as mackerel, sardines, tuna, herrings, mudfish, salmon, and other sources of protein such as snails, mushrooms, regular yoghurt, full-fat Greek yoghurt, cheese, and can all help to keep your blood sugar at normal levels.

Maintain Normal Levels Of Vitamin D

A study carried out in China has revealed that when a woman is deficient in vitamin D in early pregnancy, it increases her risk of developing gestational diabetes.

Vitamin D deficiency causes insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion, which decreases the efficiency with which the cells of the body absorb sugar from the blood. Consequently, the level of sugar in the blood increases.

So, ensure that you maintain normal levels of vitamin D in your body by eating foods rich in vitamin D such as halibut liver oil, cod liver oil, egg yolk, and butter. Furthermore, take vitamin D supplements. Additionally, if you live in a tropical country, spend at least one hour every day in the sun.

Engage In Recreational Activity In The First 20 Weeks Of Your Pregnancy

A study has revealed that pregnant women who take part in recreational activities one year before they get pregnant, and also in the first 20 weeks of their pregnancy, have a 48 % lower risk of developing gestational diabetes than pregnant women who were inactive during this same period.

So, walk briskly for one hour every day and also climb stairs every day for 30 minutes when you are not pregnant, and walk briskly every evening in the early days of your pregnancy.

Exercise 150 Minutes A Week

A study published in the World Journal of Diabetes suggests that women who exercise before pregnancy are less insulin resistant during the later months of pregnancy and so have lower rates of gestational diabetes than women who do not exercise before pregnancy.

Before you get pregnant, you may engage in aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging , swimming, running, aerobic dancing, hydrotherapy aerobics, hiking, rowing, rope jumping), and also resistance band exercise training (you may use resistance machines, dumbbells, and body weight exercises) at a moderate intensity for three days in a week, to help you control the amount of sugar in your blood.

And in the early stages of pregnancy, you may do yoga, aerobic dancing, brisk walking, and swimming, at a moderate intensity for three days in a week, or exercising for 150 minutes in a week, can give you the best results—several studies have revealed that exercises such as these are safe for a pregnant woman to do.

However, in the early months of your pregnancy, avoid exercises such as soccer, basketball, horse riding, gymnastics, rugby and other sports which involve contact or falling.

Additionally, avoid engaging in exercises which require that you lie in a supine position because such exercises may impede the flow of blood through the inferior vena cava (the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood into the heart) and cause problems for your heart.

Conclusion

Some of the ways to prevent gestational diabetes are: consume a reasonable amount of carbohydrates, eat a lot of carbohydrates which have a low glycemic index, avoid foods with a high glycemic index, avoid fruits which contain a lot of sugar, control your weight, and do your best to keep active.

How to Prevent Gestational Diabetes

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© 2018 Isaac Nunoofio

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