How To Reduce Gestational Diabetes-Related Pregnancy Risks

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If you have gestational diabetes, the key to lowering gestational diabetes risks and complications is keeping your blood sugar levels in control.

Gestational diabetes is usually not diagnosed until the 24th through 28th weeks of pregnancy when pregnant women are routinely screened for this condition with an oral glucose tolerance test. Gaining control of blood sugar levels at this time can reduce chances for risks and complications.

Even treatment for mild gestational diabetes benefits both the mother and baby.

How to Reduce Gestational Diabetes Risks and Complications

  • Talk to your healthcare team about what blood sugar targets are right for you. Common targets are below 95 mg/dL upon awakening (also known as a fasting blood sugar level), below 140 mg/dL one-hour post meal and below 120 mg/dL two hours post meal. Test several times daily. Women are sometimes asked to check nighttime levels if levels through the night are a problem.
  • Test for ketones in your urine if asked by your healthcare team.
  • Follow your healthcare team's advice for diet and exercise. The need for medication such as insulin can sometimes be avoided with just diet and exercise.
  • Take any medication, such as insulin, as directed.
  • Keep your appointments for fetal monitoring including a biophysical profile and nonstress test to assess the development of your baby. Perform kick counts as directed.
  • After the baby arrives, get postpartum follow-up care.
  • Alert your healthcare team if you experience problems of difficulties with diabetes or pregnancy.

Sources:

What I Need To Know About Gestational Diabetes. National Diabetes Information Clearing House. Accessed: October 12, 2010. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/gestational/#9

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