Posts Tagged ‘gestational diabetes’

Valentine’s Day chocolates

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

valentines-dayHappy Valentine’s Day! I don’t know about you, but I can always convince myself that a piece of dark chocolate is not only tasty but good for me. After all, it’s a fine source of antioxidants – right? Yes, but you know the drill when it comes to candy – everything in moderation.

When you’re pregnant you need to be careful to eat a healthy diet. You’ve heard how important it is to take in lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meat and fish. Watch out for the hidden sugar in fruit drinks and sodas. With chocolate, it’s not just the sugar, it’s the fat, too. A little piece once in a while is fine, but try to keep that box at bay for the rest of the day. You don’t want to give your pregnant body any incentive to shift toward gestational diabetes

Most women need around 300 extra calories per day during pregnancy. For example, one healthy snack like four fig bars and a glass of skim milk will provide these extra calories. However, the exact amount of extra calories you need depends on your weight before pregnancy. Talk to your health provider to learn more about a healthy eating plan that’s right for you.

Enjoy that occasional treat – you deserve it! But watch what you eat the rest of the time.


Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

babyfaceMacrosomia is a term that describes an unusually large baby, weighing more than 9 pounds 15 ounces.  Aside from genetic factors (others in the family are really big), one of the main causes of macorsomia is poorly controlled diabetes during pregnancy.  Increased maternal plasma glucose levels, as well as insulin, stimulate the baby’s growth.  Pregnant women who are obese are at increased risk of having an overly large baby.  If a baby goes way past its due date, it may be overly large.  Interestingly, more male babies are macrosomic than girls, and if you have had one overly large baby you may be at increased risk of having another large baby in a future pregnancy.  I know a guy who is one of four boys, each of whom weighed over 14 pounds!  I kid you not.

With a really big baby, there is the chance of having a difficult birth.  The mother may experience perineal tearing, significant blood loss, and even damage to her tailbone.  The baby’s shoulder may get caught behind the mother’s pubic bone causing a dangerous situation and a threat to both the mother and baby, including possible infant death.
Some doctors will plan a cesarean delivery if a woman appears to be carrying a very large baby.  Unfortunately, late third trimester ultrasounds are not particularly accurate at measuring the baby’s size and many planned, cautionary cesarean deliveries turn out to be unnecessary.  It is always important to go over the risks and benefits to both mom and baby when discussing a planned cesarean delivery.

If you are planning for a baby in you future, now is the time to get your weight under control.  If you have diabetes, be sure to manage it carefully so that it is as controlled as possible during your pregnancy.  If you have recently had a very large baby and had gestational diabetes, make sure your doctor tests you for diabetes a few months after delivery.  Up to 20% of women who had gestational diabetes end up with postpartum diabetes and will need to manage it.

Pregnancy in your late 40s

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

pregnant-womanMany of us have heard that Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta, is pregnant at the age of 47. Wow, you go girl!  I hear some women asking “If she can, why can’t I?”  Good question, complicated answer.

Women over age 35 may be less fertile than younger women because they tend to ovulate (release an egg from the ovaries) less frequently. Certain health conditions that are more common in this age group also may interfere with conception. These include endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes and fibroids.

A woman over age 35 should consult her health care provider if she has not conceived after 6 months of trying. Studies suggest that about one-third of women between 35 and 39 and about half of those over age 40 have fertility problems.  At age 47, most babies are conceived with some form of fertility treatment.   This can be time consuming and expensive.

Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester for women of all ages. The risk of miscarriage increases with age. Studies suggest that about 10 percent of recognized pregnancies for women in their 20s end in miscarriage. The risk rises to about 35 percent at ages 40 to 44 and more than 50 percent by age 45. The age-related increased risk of miscarriage is caused, at least in part, by increases in chromosomal abnormalities.

Women in their late 30s and 40s are very likely to have a healthy baby. However, they may face more complications along the way than younger women. Some complications that are more common in women over 35 include: gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, placental problems, premature birth, stillbirth.  About 47% of women over age 40 give birth via cesarean section.

All these things taken into consideration, many women who do conceive in their late 40s, either on their own (unlikely but not impossible) or with some fertility treatment, do manage to have healthy babies.  The important thing to remember is to have a preconception checkup and early and regular prenatal care.

Get out and get moving

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

exercisingSpring is here and I’m so excited! Where I live, the past few days have been absolutely gorgeous. Between all the snow and rainstorms we experienced earlier this year, Lola (my dog) and I are happy to finally take our exercise outdoors in the warm weather and sunshine.

If you’re an expecting mommy, spring is the perfect time to get some fresh air and get moving! For most women, exercising while pregnant is safe and healthy. It can help prevent gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that sometimes develops during pregnancy. For women who already have gestational diabetes, regular exercise and changes in diet can help control the disease. Exercise can also relieve stress and build the stamina needed for labor and delivery. It can also help women cope during the postpartum period by keeping “baby blues” at bay, regaining their energy and losing the weight they gained during pregnancy. Some research suggests that exercising during pregnancy can also keep baby healthy at birth and later in life.

So let’s get out there and get moving!

Exercise during pregnancy – the good, the bad, and the ugly

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

pregnant-exerciseIt used to be that pregnancy finally offered a good reason to sit down and put your feet up. But times have changed.  Most pregnant women in good health should try to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, dancing) on most, if not all, days. Dang!  No excuse to snooze here!

Most of us are aware of the many benefits of exercise, but when you’re pregnant and feeling wiped out?  Actually, regular exercise gives you a healthy buzz helping you feel better physically and emotionally, and the calories burned help prevent outrageous weight gain.  Exercise can relieve stress (what stress?) and build up stamina needed for labor and delivery.  It can help prevent gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that sometimes develops during pregnancy. It can also help women cope during the postpartum period (did someone say stress again?) Exercise can help new moms keep the “baby blues” at bay, regain their energy and lose the weight they gained during pregnancy. All good stuff, so go for it!

But before you go out and run a marathon, talk with your health care provider. Not all pregnant women should exercise, especially if they are at risk of preterm labor or suffer from a serious ailment, such as heart or lung disease. So check with your doc or midwife before you start an exercise program.

Next, pick things you think you’ll like. Who’s going to stick with a routine that’s a total drag, even if it is good for you?  Make it fun – try several things. Check out running, hiking or dancing, if you like.  (Belly dancing for pregnant women is an absolute hoot!)  Brisk walking for 30 minutes or more is an excellent way to get the aerobic benefits of exercise, and you don’t need to join a health club or buy any special equipment. I found swimming at the local YWCA a great sport, especially in the third trimester when my knees were hurting me. The water supports the weight of your growing body, protects your joints and provides resistance that helps bring your heart rate up. Our colleague Anne got a real charge out of yoga classes designed for pregnant women. You may find that a variety of activities helps keep you motivated to continue exercising throughout your pregnancy – and beyond.

Be careful when choosing a sport. Avoid any activities that put you at high risk for injury, such as horseback riding or downhill skiing. Stay away from sports in which you could get hit in the belly, such as ice hockey, kickboxing or soccer. Especially after the third month, avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back. Lying on your back can restrict the flow of blood to the uterus and endanger your baby. Finally, never scuba dive. As great as the water feels to you, this sport may lead to dangerous gas bubbles in the baby’s circulatory system.

When you exercise, pay attention to how you feel. Don’t overdo it—try to build up your level of fitness gradually. If you have any serious problems, such as vaginal bleeding, dizziness, headaches, chest pain, decreased fetal movement or contractions, stop exercising and contact your health care provider immediately.

With a little bit of caution, you can achieve or maintain a level of fitness that would shock your grandmother. You’ll feel and look better. And yes, you can still put your feet up—after you’ve come back from your walk.

For more information, read the March of Dimes fact sheet Fitness for Two.

Diabetes and pregnancy

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

You may have heard us say it before, but it’s worth saying it again – having a healthy baby starts BEFORE pregnancy! There are so many factors about mom’s health before and during pregnancy that affect how healthy her baby will be. That’s why it’s important for all women to take care of themselves and live a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true for women living with diabetes.

The USA Today published an article last week on this very topic. In fact, nearly 9 out of 100 women in the United States have diabetes. But, about 3 out of those 9 don’t know it. Managing diabetes before pregnancy (often called “preexisting diabetes”) is important to the health of both mom and baby. This is also true for women who develop gestational diabetes (when diabetes develops during pregnancy). If too much glucose (sugar) is in a woman’s blood during early pregnancy, there’s a chance that this can cause birth defects. In later pregnancy, too much glucose could lead to a baby that is too large, born prematurely, born via c-section or have other life-threatening situations.

But there is good news! By learning how to manage your diabetes before and during pregnancy, you can increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby. Here’s a few things you can do right now:
Visit your health provider regularly before and during pregnancy
• Take a multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid
• Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
• With your health provider’s OK, be active and exercise
• Learn more about managing pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes.

Pregnant Mommies: Not so fast on that Halloween candy!

Friday, October 31st, 2008

It’s Halloween and the kids will be bringing home LOADS of goodies. It’s okay for mommies to treat themselves every once in a while during pregnancy. But don’t overload on the fun-size candy bars and the candy corn.

A recent study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology shows that moms who gained more than 40 pounds during their pregnancy were twice as likely to have babies who were too large, compared to other moms. In fact, out of 40,000 moms in the study, 1 in 5 of them had gained too much weight during their pregnancy.

So what’s the harm in having a large baby, you ask? Well, let’s start with what that means for moms. Moms who gain too much weight during pregnancy are at increased risk of facing serious health complications such as gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension and preeclamspia.  Also, a pregnant mom who gains too much weight is more likely to encounter difficulties during labor and childbirth, such as a baby stuck in the birth canal, vaginal tearing, c-section, a longer hospital stay and other recovery complications.

Babies born to overweight or obese moms face their own special health risks, too. These newborns are at increased risk of being born prematurely, having certain birth defects and needing special care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Some studies even suggest that babies born too big are more likely to face obesity in their childhood, which is a growing problem in the U.S.

While you don’t want to go on any “fad diet” during pregnancy, it’s important that you make healthy food choicesWatch our video on healthy food choices during pregnancy.  Talk to your health provider for more nutrition tips.

Image: Juushika Redgrave, Flickr

Beware of ‘Pregorexia’

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

A lot of changes happen to moms during their nine months of pregnancy.   From changes in hair, to gums and teeth, to breasts and skin, Mother Nature uses this precious time to transform a woman’s body into a safe and healthy haven for her new baby.

But of all the changes taking place, many moms might find themselves most concerned with how much weight to gain during pregnancy.  The CBS Early Show recently did a segment on “pregorexia” and how some moms take extreme measures of limiting how much food they eat to lessen the amount of pounds they put on during pregnancy. This kind of behavior can cause severe harm to an unborn baby.  Fad diets can reduce the nutrients your baby needs for his growth and health.

It’s important that pregnant moms eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.  On average, women need an extra 300 calories a day to support the growth and development of their baby. You can get these extra calories by adding a small snack between meals, so make healthy choices.  With your health provider’s OK, you should also do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days.

As far as weight gain, women who are at a normal weight before pregnancy should gain between 25-35 pounds.  If you’re currently overweight, aim for a range of 15-25 pounds to avoid developing complications during pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.

Remember – the healthier you are during your pregnancy, the healthier your baby will be.