Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a blood sugar dysregulation disorder that begins during pregnancy. It can occur in 5% of all pregnancies, and if it does occur – the women’s risk for going on to develop diabetes post-partum increases significantly. There are multiple factors that can contribute to a woman developing GDM during her pregnancy, some controllable (diet, lifestyle, exercise) and other factors not (history of PCOS, metabolic syndrome pre-pregnancy, genetics).
There are the typical diabetes medication treatment options available to women who require them during pregnancy, but today I want to focus on what we can be doing during the pre-conception phase + early pregnancy and carry those health practices throughout the remained of the pregnancy to prevent GDM, or help manage it to optimize maternal and fetal outcomes.
“GDM is preventable, and even after onset, if detected early can be reversible”
By modifying diet (high fiber, low glycemic index, low sodium) as well as implementing exercise (25-30 minutes 4xweek) have been shown to have statistically significant changes on the outcome of a pregnancy. Early intervention is key when it comes to implementing lifestyle changes if we want them to be effective enough to impact the outcome of a pregnancy.
Talk with your healthcare provider about your potential risk factors for GDM to start these lifestyle interventions early to optimize your and future baby’s health!