Unfortunately, rates of gestational diabetes, a diagnosis that can lead to complications for both mother and child, have increased in recent years.
Although we cannot control all the factors related to gestational diabetes, it is not completely out of our reach. There are some things we can do to at least reduce the likelihood of such a diagnosis.
Here are some tips to reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes:
1. Increase Your Fibre
Fibre is only found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The fibre found in many fruits and vegetables has a particularly beneficial effect on blood glucose control. Having enough fibre also helps you feel fuller and is therefore ideal for appetite and weight control.
2. Move More
Many people lead a sedentary life. However, physical activity can help to improve blood sugar levels. One study found a decrease in the incidence of gestational diabetes with only a 15 minutes increase in physical activity per day. In addition, exercise offers other benefits; it can help manage stress, cardiovascular health, bone density and more. Don't wait until you're pregnant to start exercising - the best time is now.
3. Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Women with a BMI over 30 are at higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, so it is important to take steps to achieve a weight that is right for you, even before pregnancy! Increasing vegetable consumption and limiting the consumption of red meat and high-fat dairy products, as well as sugar-rich foods and beverages, are just some of the many recommendations for better eating habits. For a personalized assessment of your needs, consult a dietitian.
Although there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of gestational diabetes, some lifestyle changes can reduce the likelihood of this condition. The above recommendations are also beneficial for all people, not just those who are concerned about gestational diabetes. Everyone should strive to be less sedentary, doing activities they enjoy, while eating more fresh foods and less highly processed foods high in sugar, salt and fat.