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Understanding Gestational Diabetes

Content by: Erin (Nugent) Bern, RD

Gestational Diabetes (GDM) is a silent condition and requires glucose tests at around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Testing positive for GDM can increase the risk for large birth weight in the baby, and high blood pressure for the pregnant woman.

Understanding Gestational Diabetes

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Gestational Diabetes (GDM) often shows up in the second or third trimester. GDM should not be considered a result of unhealthy behaviors. It is caused by the body’s inability to use insulin effectively. As the body changes during pregnancy, it can change the way a pregnant woman’s body responds to insulin. It is estimated that 2-10% of all pregnancies are affected by GDM.

Gestational diabetes does not typically have signs or symptoms. This is why most doctors recommend a glucose test around 24 weeks of pregnancy. Testing positive for GDM can increase the risk for large birth weight in the baby, and high blood pressure for the pregnant woman.

If diagnosed with GDM, it is important to continue attending all doctor appointments so that they can accurately monitor your glucose levels as well as baby’s growth. GDM can typically be treated through diet and exercise; however, always follow doctor recommendations for medication if necessary.

NOTE: Talk to a registered dietitian to create a personalized dietary plan for GDM treatment. General recommendations include controlled portion sizes for high carbohydrate foods, and plenty of non starchy vegetables and protein foods. Regular moderate physical activity also helps to increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Always check with your doctor to find out what types of exercises are safe for you and your baby.

Quick Tips:
1. Manage your diet.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Follow your doctor’s instructions.

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