Gestational Diabetes | Fit Pregnancy

Gestational Diabetes

Sugar Blues

At my 26-week OB appointment, I drank a bottle of extra-sweet soda—imagine Mountain Dew spiked with pancake syrup—and an hour later, submitted my arm for a blood test. I was being screened for gestational diabetes and, as a gym regular and healthy eater (except for those first-trimester French-toast binges), I wasn't worried.

Testing Your Blood Sugar

Step 1: The Glucose Challenge
You drink a concentrated glucose beverage, then wait an hour for a blood test. If your one-hour blood-sugar level is more than 140 milligrams of glucose per deciliter of plasma (mg/dL) but less than 200 mg/dL, you'll be referred to Step 2 for a more definitive diagnosis. If it exceeds 200, you'll be diagnosed with GDM and won't need further testing.

Avoiding Gestational Diabetes

Women who exercise regularly before conceiving are less likely to develop diabetes during pregnancy, according to a Harvard study. Brisk walking before pregnancy reduced the risk of gestational diabetes by 34 percent compared with walking at an easy pace. In contrast, women who watched at least 20 hours of television each week and did not exercise before pregnancy were twice as likely as exercisers to develop gestational diabetes. While lifelong physical activity clearly matters, previous studies show that women can also reduce their risk of diabetes by exercising during pregnancy.

Prenatal Problems

Most pregnancies are perfectly healthy, and moms-to-be glide through them with nothing more severe than a few bouts of nausea and the occasional backache. However, some women do develop more serious health problems that can threaten their own and their baby's well-being, sometimes even their lives. Don't worry—life-threatening complications are extremely rare. But it's important to know what signs and symptoms to look out for.

Here are some common pregnancy problems, along with information on their causes and treatments.