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How to Reduce Your Risk of Gestational Diabetes

How to Reduce Your Risk of Gestational Diabetes

There’s a lot to think about when you’re expecting a baby, from eating right to easing morning sickness and creating your birth plan. You can also add gestational diabetes to that list. Since November is Diabetes Awareness Month, we want to give you a primer on what raises your risk for gestational diabetes, prevention tips, and more.

Dr. Kevin Hooker and the Lake Havasu OB/GYN Care team provide extraordinary prenatal care for the women of Lake Havasu City and the surrounding areas and do so with care and compassion. Helping you avoid gestational diabetes is paramount to us, but we’re also here to provide expert treatment for mothers-to-be who develop it.

What is gestational diabetes?

We often hear about how widespread type 2 diabetes is, but gestational diabetes exclusively affects pregnant women who didn’t have diabetes before becoming pregnant. Like type 1 and 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes influences how cells utilize glucose and causes high blood sugar, which harms both mother and baby. 

Each year, between 2-10% of pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is sneaky because it doesn’t typically cause noticeable symptoms, and being diagnosed with it during pregnancy puts you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

Dr. Hooker is so invested in helping you avoid gestational diabetes because of the potential complications for you and your baby:

Preeclampsia can be life-threatening to both mother and baby, and gestational diabetes can negatively affect your child when they become an adult. 

How can I avoid gestational diabetes?

You can take proactive steps to lower your risk for gestational diabetes that involve healthy lifestyle practices — before and during pregnancy. 

1. Stay active

Pregnant women may have some physical limitations but aren’t fragile. Remaining active throughout your pregnancy is key to lowering your gestational diabetes risk and enjoying an overall healthy pregnancy.

Talk to Dr. Hooker about which exercises are safe and appropriate for you, depending on which semester of pregnancy you’re in and other factors.

2. Eat well

Eating a variety of nutrient-dense, high-fiber foods, such as fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds, greatly lowers your risk for gestational diabetes. 

Dr. Hooker can also advise you about foods you should avoid while pregnant, such as raw or smoked seafood, unpasteurized dairy products, soft cheeses, and unwashed fruits and vegetables.

3. Keep an eye on your weight

Starting pregnancy with extra pounds raises your risk for gestational diabetes, so getting to a healthy weight before you get pregnant can lower your chances of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Staying within a healthy weight range throughout your pregnancy is also important. 

There are several uncontrollable risk factors for gestational diabetes, such as being Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American, having previously had a baby who weighed nine pounds or over, or being older than 25 when you have your baby. Coming from a family with a history of diabetes is another. 

However, by focusing on the risk factors you can control and getting great care from Dr. Hooker — which includes being tested for gestational diabetes at about 24 weeks, the time when gestational diabetes typically develops — you can feel empowered in knowing that you’re doing everything possible to mitigate your risk.

Dr. Hooker also has special expertise in managing high-risk pregnancies, so if you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you’re in the best hands.

Call our Mesquite Avenue office at 928-683-1667 to make an appointment with Dr. Hooker, or book one online. We offer early morning appointments Monday through Friday for your convenience.

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