Did you know that November is diabetes awareness month?
While awareness is typically targeted toward diabetes types 1 and 2, gestational diabetes affects between 2 and 10% of pregnant women. It’s considered one of the biggest health risks during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes puts both you and your baby at risk for many dangerous conditions, including preterm birth, large birth weight, stillbirth and preeclampsia.
What are the risk factors for developing gestational diabetes?
Risk factors include:
- Being overweight
- Being related to someone who had or has diabetes
- Being Hispanic/Latina, African American, American Indian, Asian American, Alaska Native or Pacific Islander
- Being over the age of 25
- Having gestational diabetes or a very large baby in a previous pregnancy
- High blood pressure or heart disease
How can I lower my risk of getting gestational diabetes?
Although you can’t control some of the risk factors for developing gestational diabetes, there are a few steps you can take to lower your risk.
What you put in your body is important during pregnancy. Here are some ways you can lower the possibility of developing gestational diabetes:
- Increase your fiber intake. Eating lots of fiber has been shown to reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes. One study found that for every 10g of fiber a pregnant woman consumed, her risk of gestational diabetes lowered by 26%.
- Avoid drinking soda. Another study suggested drinking 5 or more carbonated beverages per week could increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes.
- Reduce your intake of animal protein. Replace your animal protein intake, particularly red meat, with vegetable protein. Several studies have shown that a diet high in animal protein is associated with an increased risk for gestational diabetes, while a diet high in vegetable protein decreases your risk. Read more about what to eat during pregnancy.
- Exercise. Staying active is important during pregnancy. Exercise helps keep your glucose levels healthy. If your doctor gives you the okay, aim to exercise 30 minutes 5 time a week to help control your glucose levels.
For more information on gestational diabetes, visit our OB/GYN Knowledge Center: Gestational Diabetes Overview.
Are you concerned about your risk for gestational diabetes? Do you live in the North Florida area? Schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable Gainesville or Lake City maternity care providers at All About Women today.