By: Natasha Lowe Osho MD, FACOG, NASM-CPT
Gestational diabetes (Diabetes of pregnancy) is a condition that occurs in up to 10% of all pregnancies. It is due to the body’s inability to fully metabolize carbohydrates resulting in high levels of glucose in the blood. This is the reason why a blood sample is commonly used to test for diabetes.
In non-pregnant individuals, untreated diabetes can lead to long term health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, kidney injury or failure, loss of vision, and poor circulation. These conditions can take years to develop. During pregnancy, the effects of uncontrolled diabetes can lead to complications that could manifest before delivery such as a large baby and pre-eclampsia. Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can also increase the risk for shoulder dystocia (a condition where the shoulders are stuck in the pelvis during delivery). A newborn baby can have low blood sugar levels or increased risk of jaundice as a result of uncontrolled gestational diabetes. Lastly, women with gestational diabetes have an up to 70% risk of developing Type 2 DM over the course of 20 years.
The good news is with appropriate treatment the risks associated with gestational diabetes are lower. The foundation of this treatment starts with diet and exercise. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), women with gestational diabetes should receive nutrition and exercise counseling. Studies have shown that exercise lowers glucose levels in the blood. Maintaining a normal blood glucose level helps to decrease the risks of complications for yourself and your baby. It is recommended that a pregnant woman participate in 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. For example, you could do 30-minute sessions five days a week or 50-minute sessions three days a week. During pregnancy, your exercise sessions should not last longer than 1 hour. At that point, you are actually at risk of having hypoglycemia or too low blood sugar. Lifestyle modifications are also encouraged. This could be as simple as taking a 10-15 minute walk after a meal, which has also been shown to help control blood glucose levels.
Are you pregnant and have gestational diabetes? Are you pregnant and want to decrease your chances of having gestational diabetes? Are you currently planning for pregnancy, but had gestational diabetes previously? At Bump Fitness Club, we believe that staying active is key to having a healthy pregnancy. We will help you achieve the recommended amount of exercise in a fun and supportive environment. Join us on the journey towards a healthier pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin #190, “Gestational Diabetes,” February 2018.
Natasha Lowe Osho MD is a Board Certified OB/GYN, National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, and Founder of Bump Fitness Club. I founded Bump Fitness Club to help women have healthier pregnancies. Our mission is to provide a safe, supportive, and supervised environment for exercise during pregnancy with the goals of helping women perform their daily activities, build strength and stamina for the physical demands of labor and delivery, and assist with postpartum recovery while building relationships and providing encouragement throughout the pregnancy journey. For more information, visit bumpfitnessclub.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.