Gestational Diabetes is becoming more common in the pregnant Australian population, affecting between 5-10% of women.

No one truly knows why it develops, but there are heaps of ways you can prevent it from happening to you.

What is it?

High blood glucose during pregnancy. The excess amount of glucose in the blood may (if left un-managed or untreated) cause the baby to grow too large which can lead to birth and/or post natal complications.

Why does it happen?

No one really knows, however, the placenta is a “diabetic like” organ. It naturally keeps blood glucose levels higher during pregnancy to ensure the growing baby receives constant nourishment for growth and development.

My educated guess?

Many women have high sugar diets these days. Food is not always made for health, it is made for convenience so unfortunately, many people eat the wrong foods prior to conception and during pregnancy which can lead to hormonal and blood glucose issues.

Modern day people live a sedentary lifestyle. No one exercises like they used to a couple of generations ago. It is so easy to jump in a car, we have everything online, at our fingertips.

Mix this with, we are more stressed than ever. Stress causes secretion of cortisol from the adrenal glands, which acts very similarly to glucose in the blood. This is likely to add extra fuel to the fire!

What can you do?

1. If your diagnosis was via glucose tolerance test (GTT), ask your health provider for a HbA1C test as well.

It is a far more accurate test than the GTT and it also gives an indication of blood glucose levels from the past 3 months.

Yes I know this does raise the question: why don’t they just use this test instead? My guess would be because it is more expensive! Even if you have to pay for this test (around $100), it is worth it to have a true and accurate diagnosis.

There is also another school of thought that says some women end up having a false positive as the test is so high in sugar, a healthy woman’s body may not handle it if she doesn’t normally have sugar in her diet (another reason to ask for the HbA1C test to prove “true” blood glucose health).

On a side note, all tests offered during pregnancy are OPTIONAL. So if you don’t tick any of the “risk” categories, question your health provider whether you truly need to test for GD. (This is mostly aimed at women who are measuring normal size, not gaining an obscene amount of weight, and who have healthy diets & lead a healthy lifestyle. If you know you’re unhealthy, it might be worth taking the test).

2. Eat more fibre and protein.

Think low sugar fruits (berries, apples and pears, lemons and limes).

Fresh, low starch vegetables (green leafies, celery, cucumber, asparagus, carrots, tomatoes, onion, garlic, avocado, fennel, capsicum.

Lean protein (palm sized) with each main meal such as meat, chicken, turkey, fish, tofu or nuts and seeds.

Protein and fibre are the best way to ensure sustained energy throughout the day, as well as prevent peaks and troughs in your blood glucose levels.

Best of all, they prevent sugar cravings.

3. Exercise 30 mins twice a day. Be more active in general. Take the stairs, walk to work, ride a bike with the kids, walk the dog everyday. Every bit counts!

4. Reduce STRESS and get enough sleep. 

Pregnancy insomnia is a real thing! I found often it is linked to getting hungry throughout the night, so try and have a high protein snack an hour before bed such as a boiled egg or peanut butter on celery sticks.

You may also need a serve of complex carbs with dinner such as brown rice, quinoa, or sweet potato.

In order to keep cortisol levels in check, you need to get on top of your stress levels.

Some of the of the best ways include:

Walking on the beach or in nature.

Take a bath with lavender oil and epsom salts.

Play with your pets or kids. Have a laugh.

Stretch or take up yoga/pilates

Learn how to breathe deeply

5. Take Magnesium, Gymnema and B Vitamins.

I have treated many women with this combination and there is oodles of science to back it up. See here and here.

Disclaimer: Only begin supplementation under the care of a health professional. If your health professional is not trained in herbs, please contact me and I can work with you to find the best treatment for your specific condition.

The take home message…

Be aware and be informed of your options.

Be consistent with diet and lifestyle changes.

Contact me for more information or to arrange an appointment.