There are 25.8 million people (children and adults) in the United States, or 8.3% of the population, who have diabetes.  Based on recently announced diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes, it is estimated that gestational diabetes affects 18% of pregnancies.  In those under the age of 20, 1 in 400 have diabetes.  What’s even more staggering, the statistics show that 7 million cases go undiagnosed! Although this may seem alarming, we do not have to become a part of these statistics.  This month you could join many others on a quest towards awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes and live a preventable lifestyle.  March 26th is American Diabetes Association Alert Day and in honor of this day I am sharing some tips to help you and your loved ones live a life free of diabetes.

  • Take the test! It doesn’t hurt to know where you stand. All it takes is 1 minute.
  • Get moving! We all know we should be active on most days of the week for 30-60 minutes, minimum.  So grab the kids and bikes and get moving! Too chilly outdoors? Get some indoor activity by doing jumping jacks, planks, bear crawls and squats.
  • Choose nutrient dense foods.  You know them! Those amazing dark colored foods from nature!  Here’s a great dark, smoothie recipe packed with antioxidants and calcium!
  • Reduce highly processed foods (eliminate if you can!)
  • Keep your weight in check.  This is one of the most important ways to ward off diabetes and many other diseases as well.

Let’s go back to what may matter the most for you, gestational diabetes.    At or around 24 weeks, your doctor will test for diabetes.  If you pass, that’s great! If not, where do you turn and how will the remaining portion of your pregnancy change?

As always, listen to your doctor first.  They will inform you on special meal planning, physical activity, and other blood glucose testing you may need as well.  Then make your close friends and family aware of your condition so as to make life a bit easier during fun gatherings.  It is vital to your health and your growing baby to keep that blood glucose in check!

The American Diabetes Association website is a great resource and they even suggest chatting with other women who have been through it.  One great tool they provide on their website is a chat forum where other pregnant woman go to and discuss their personal concerns.

Is your child at risk of diabetes, now that you have gestational diabetes? If you take good care of yourself the likelihood is low.  If the care is not taken, it could lead to macrosomia.  This is a condition where the baby is significantly larger than normal.  As should be expected, when a child is larger, it is at a higher risk of many health problems after birth and later in life.

That being said, yes, when dealing with multiples (although I do not know the statistics) the babies are lower in birth weight, so it’s likely you will not need to worry about macrosomia.  The risk of gestational diabetes is still there though, and there are still complications that could arise if your condition is not treated properly.

Considering I am not an expert in this area, I would love to hear of your experience with gestational diabetes.  How many babies did you have? Did your doctor need to put you on medications or did you do daily glucose testing at home? Did they set you up with a registered dietitian to help guide you through the process?

If there is anything this information does, I hope that you are better informed as to how to prevent the disease.  –Don’t forget to take the test!

My webpage of choice in creating this article was American Diabetes Association.  Read on! There are great tools there!