When someone is diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, it can be frightening.
There are things that you can do both during and after pregnancy, to keep you and your baby healthy.
It is important to return for your postpartum check-up after the baby is born, as instructed. Your diabetes may or may not go away after the baby is here. Therefore, it is important to follow-up with your provider.
Continue to see your health care provider on a regular basis or as directed. You may think you feel fine, but, one in ten mothers with gestational diabetes may have diabetes after pregnancy too.
It is very good to breastfeed your baby. Babies whose mothers have had gestational diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing diabetes later on in life. Breastfeeding can help prevent childhood obesity and may protect the child later in life against diabetes. For those who may have difficulties with breastfeeding, please ask for help.
When you talk with the baby’s doctor, it is important that you tell you had gestational diabetes. This is important, because, your baby is at a higher risk later in life for developing obesity and diabetes. You and the baby’s doctor can talk about healthy lifestyle habits for you and your baby that may be helpful to prevent this from happening.
Remember to watch your weight. A healthy weight can help to control diabetes after your pregnancy is over or may help to prevent future problems with diabetes. Talking with your health care provider about a healthy weight goal may be helpful.
Always strive to make healthy food and exercise choices. When choosing foods, think about vegetables and fruits, lean meat, low fat dairy products and whole grains to help you, your baby, and family stay healthy. Exercising every day or physical activity that fits in your routine is another way to help stay healthy. Living a lifestyle with healthier habits can help prevent diabetes and other problems in the future for you and your baby. Always strive to do your part to have a long and healthy life!
(Editor’s note: Mary Anne Johnson is an RN, ERN, maternal health coordinator, at the Sampson County Health Department.)