Gestational Diabetes: Things to Know After Giving Birth

finding out you're pregnant

 

For any woman who has ever been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, learning that it usually goes away after the birth is comforting and helps the mother push through until then. Though this is the outcome for about 90 percent of all women, after consulting with my doctor, I realized that the problem doesn’t always go away. Learning this, I realized just how important it was to take care of myself, particularly in the few months after having my child. To do this, I first educated myself on the risks and then developed a plan of daily actions to take to reduce the likelihood of things taking a turn for the worst. Here’s what I learned:

 

Know the Risks

There is a small percentage of women who have complications with their blood sugar well after giving birth after developing gestational diabetes. Other risks to be aware of include:

 

  • Type 2 Diabetes – Women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.

  • Depression – New mothers with gestational diabetes can have a higher risk of developing clinical or postpartum depression.

  • Difficulties Breastfeeding – Breastfeeding your newborn requires your body to burn a lot of energy and calories to produce milk. This, in turn, could make it difficult for you to regulate your blood sugar.

 

What Should You Do?

Now that you know what your risks are, you can take the best approach to keep your health intact and minimize the chances of developing any of the above-mentioned conditions or problems.

 

  • Visit Your Doctor Regularly – You should have your blood sugar checked periodically with your doctor to monitor for signs of type 2 diabetes. Be sure to discuss any complications you’ve been having since giving birth so that you can be properly assessed and treated if necessary.

  • Eat Well and Stay Active – You’ll need to stick to a diet very similar to the one that was recommended when you were first diagnosed. Steer clear of sugar and starches, eat meals rich in protein, good fats, and a variety of fruits and veggies. If you need help adapting to the new lifestyle changes, consider looking into a program for diabetes and weight loss. There are several that have meal plans, workout routines, and more to keep you on track. Speaking of workout routines, pull out the jogging stroller and get outside to burn calories on a regular basis. Keeping a healthy weight is imperative to ensure you don’t end up with type 2 diabetes.

  • Be Aware of Your Emotions – Although depression isn’t always easy to spot, being in tune with your emotions can help you determine when it’s time to visit your doctor. If you notice sustained periods of sadness or moodiness, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, exhaustion, thoughts of self-harm or harming others, or anxiety, you should contact your doctor right away. This could be a sign of postpartum depression.

 

Gestational diabetes isn’t something I thought I’d have to be concerned with after giving birth. Fortunately, I had a great relationship with my doctor who was able to provide me with tips on how to adjust my lifestyle to reduce these risks. Although you have a little one to care for now, be sure that you don’t forget to take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep (well, as much as the baby will allow), eat a healthy balanced diet, exercise, and talk to your doctor regularly.

 

 

 

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