How to manage gestational diabetes

Avoid eating a lot of starch, processed foods, exercise, control blood sugar, etc. to help reduce the risk of complications for mothers with gestational diabetes.

Insulin, produced by the pancreas, is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. During pregnancy, elevated levels of various hormones can interfere with the proper production of insulin. When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin during pregnancy, it leads to gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can pose risks to both mother and baby if not properly managed and treated.


A healthy, balanced diet is the "key" to regulating blood sugar. Women with gestational diabetes should alternate three snacks between three well-balanced meals each day. Regularly eating meals spaced apart helps to avoid unwanted spikes or spikes in blood sugar.

To prevent blood sugar spikes, you need to avoid simple carbohydrates (usually found in desserts and starchy foods). These foods should be limited or avoided such as white pasta, white rice, potatoes, sweets, cakes, soft drinks, etc. Instead, pregnant women should choose complex carbohydrates with a lot of fiber such as whole grains. seeds, brown rice and legumes...

People also need to avoid processed and packaged (canned) foods. Choose healthier, whole foods. For example, instead of consuming canned fruit juices that are high in sugar, eat fruit, which is higher in fiber, and has less sugar. Obstetricians and dietitians help determine a better diet for gestational diabetes.

Control blood sugar

High blood sugar during pregnancy is the cause of gestational diabetes. Therefore, regular monitoring and control of blood sugar is very important for pregnant women. The target steady-state blood sugar level in pregnancy is 95 mg/dl or less before meals; 140 mg/dl or less for one hour after eating; 120 mg/dl or less for two hours after eating.

Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can cause complications for both mother and baby. Photo: Freepik.

Choose insulin over medicine

During pregnancy, medication options for gestational diabetes are more limited. As an alternative, pregnant women can use injectable insulin to help regulate blood sugar according to the doctor's instructions. Insulin does not cross the placenta, so it does not affect the fetus. Insulin is the best choice for managing gestational diabetes.

Maintain a healthy weight

Pregnancy weight needs to be monitored regularly because gaining too much weight for pregnancy can lead to diabetes and many other diseases. For women with a normal body mass index (BMI), a reasonable weight gain during pregnancy is between 11-15.75 kg. If you are pregnant with twins, you may gain about 16-24.3 kg in weight.

Do exercise

Regular physical activity helps lower blood sugar and improve insulin resistance. Women during pregnancy and the postpartum period should do about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week. You can reduce it to about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, for example walking five times a week. Walking for 10-15 minutes after each meal can help pregnant women stabilize blood sugar.

Untreated or poorly treated gestational diabetes can lead to a number of complications during pregnancy and delivery. Excess sugar in the mother's blood will pass to the fetus, leading to excessive weight gain. This can cause the baby's birth weight to be more than 4 kg, making it difficult to deliver. Large fetal size due to gestational diabetes can lead to birth complications such as difficulty in delivery, cesarean delivery, preeclampsia, high blood pressure, severe vaginal and anal tears, and heavy bleeding. .

Gestational diabetes usually goes away on its own after giving birth, however, women with it have a higher risk of developing diabetes later in life. Similarly, women with preeclampsia during pregnancy have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. People with gestational diabetes should be screened for diabetes 4-12 weeks after giving birth. If the level is normal, the patient should be checked every 1-3 years.

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