So you've been told you have Gestational Diabetes...now what happens?
Usually, the first line of treatment is a diet/meal plan. There is an example of one here. The thing about GD meal plans is that they make a great structure for what your diet should be like in pregnancy anyway! I am not saying "diet" as in "plan to lose weight", I mean "diet" as in "the food you take in". You're building a whole new body within your own, so it can't hurt to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These will be the building blocks of someone else's (your baby's) entire organism! Just that thought was enough for me personally to start eating more whole foods and less processed junk.
It is also recommended hat one exercise daily, even a brisk walk after ever meal. Exercising increases the muscle tissue sensitivity to insulin, which helps your body metabolize sugar. Ideally, a woman would be on an exercise program before and during pregnancy not just for overall health (at ANY size), but because this is the more surefire way to help your body metabolize. No amount of exercise will keep you from developing GD (as one cannot control their ethnicity or family history), but it can definitely help in its management.
You may also be asked to monitor your blood glucose levels several times a day, usually fasting first thing in the morning and after every meal. The reason for this is to check for patterns and look for any spikes in blood sugar. This can give care providers a window into how you metabolize sugars regularly, outside of a lab setting. High sugars after eating could signal that a change in diet is needed.
High sugars in the morning, however, may signal that the body is overall not metabolizing sugar, and a doctor may then suggest a regimen of medication. The most common form of medically treating gestational diabetes is with insulin injections, which are self administered, usually directly into the belly. Obviously, one is taught how to do this by professionals so that the baby is never in any harm due to the injections. Another alternative is pills, such as glyburide and metformin.
I hope this series has helped answer some questions about what Gestational Diabetes is and what it really means. I will be sharing a guest post soon about a readers experience with Gestational Diabetes, and I hope if anyone has any questions or would like to share your own experience, you will please comment or email me. Thank you!