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Reducing Your Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Here are some ways to reduce your risk of gestational diabetes:

Maintain a Normal Weight Gain During Pregnancy

The National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine makes the following recommendations regarding weight gain during pregnancy:

Weight classification before pregnancy*Institute of Medicine recommended gestational weight gain
Underweight (BMI 19.7 and under)28 to 40 lb
Normal (BMI 19.8-24.9)25 to 35 lb
Overweight (BMI 25-29.9)15 to 25 lb
Obese (BMI 30 or greater)15 to 25 lb

*These values are based on body mass index (BMI)—the ratio of your weight in kilograms to your height in meters squared. Recognize that these values are for Caucasians, which may not apply to Asians who have smaller body frames and different percentage of body fat.

Besides increasing your risk for gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain during pregnancy is also a risk factor for obesity post-pregnancy. It should be noted that the subject of recommended pregnancy weight gain remains somewhat controversial and that some feel that the above guidelines are too high. Talk with your doctor about what range of weight gain is right for you.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Even before pregnancy begins, nutrition is a primary factor in the health of the mother and the baby. Besides lowering your risk of gestational diabetes, eating a healthy diet lowers your and your baby’s risk of serious complications during and after pregnancy. A healthy diet is one that is low in saturated fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Avoid Smoking    TOP

If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit to reduce your risk of gestational diabetes.

Exercise Regularly     TOP

Participating in a regular exercise program can lower your risk of developing gestational diabetes by helping you maintain a healthy weight. But, it is very important that you discuss exercise with your doctor before you begin.

Choose exercises that do not require your body to bear any extra weight. Good examples are:

  • Swimming
  • Stationary cycling
  • Walking
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Yoga

When you are exercising, be sure to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty. If your body temperature goes up too high, it can be dangerous for your baby.

Avoid contact sports or vigorous sports. Also, avoid any exercises that increase your risk of falls or injury.

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References:

Chung S, Song MY, et al. Korean and Caucasian overweight premenopausal women have different relationship of body mass index to percent body fat with age. J Appl Physiol. 2005;99:103-107.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated June 29, 2017. Accessed September 12, 2017.
Mottola MF. The role of exercise in the prevention and treatment of gestational diabetes mellitus. Cur Sports Med Rep. 2007;6:381-386.
Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2006 III. Detection and diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2006;29:S7
Tieu J, Crowther CA, et al. Dietary advice in pregnancy for preventing gestational diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;16(2):CD006674.
Yun S, kabeer NH, et al. Modifiable risk factors for developing diabetes among women with previous gestational diabetes. Prev Chronic Dis. 2007;4:A07.
3/17/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Luoto R, Laitinen K, et al. Impact of material probiotic-supplemented dietary counselling on pregnancy outcome and prenatal and postnatal growth: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Br J Nutr. 2010. Jun;103(12):1792-1799.
10/13/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Zhang C, Tobias DK, et al. Adherence to healthy lifestyle and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: prospective cohort study. BMJ. 2014 Sep 30;349.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 10/13/2014

 

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