How to Avoid Gestational Diabetes in Second Pregnancy?

If you previously deliver a stillborn baby or a baby with overweight (10 pounds or higher), or even if you have a personal history of gestational diabetes (GD) in your first pregnancy – you are at greater chance of getting the same condition in the second pregnancy. What you should do to lower your risk? Can it be prevented in your next pregnancy?

In essence, the more risk factors of gestational diabetes that you have, the greater risk that you get to develop this metabolic health condition. Though there are also few cases of GD that occur in women without any risk factors.

Can you prevent gestational diabetes?

Are there any steps you can do to help prevent the occurrence of GD? Yes – there are some ways and options that you can follow to help prevent its occurrence. But you need also to clearly understand that there is no way that can guarantee you will not experience GD during pregnancy.

In general, more healthy practices /habits you can adopt before and during pregnancy, the better chance that you have to prevent its occurrence. In other words, the less risk factors of gestational diabetes that you have – the less likely for this health metabolic problem to occur in your pregnancy!

Some risk factors of GD are unchangeable, but fortunately some are also changeable and manageable. The following are some unchangeable risk factors:

  1. Having a family member (first relative – such as parent, brother, & sister) who has had diabetes (either type 1 or type 2 diabetes).
  2. If you have had GD in your first pregnancy, you tend to have the same condition in your next pregnancy. Read also the chance of gestational diabetes in second pregnancy in here!
  3. Previously delivered a baby with overweight (more than 9 pounds).
  4. Belong to a high-risk ethnic. Many statistics show that GD is more common in women of Melanesian, South Asian, Polynesian, native-Australian, African-Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, and Native American

And for changeable risk factors include:

  1. Overweight or if your BMI is higher than 30 before you pregnant – according to the UK Global Diabetes Community.
  2. Poor diet, particularly excessive consumption of carbohydrates and diet with too low of fiber.
  3. Lack of physical activity or becoming a physically inactive individual

Again, these risk factors only estimate your chance of developing GD, but they are not used to conclude whether or not you definitely will develop GD!

How to avoid gestational diabetes in your second pregnancy?

For the case of when you are still trying to get pregnant (not yet pregnant), it is much better to make some appointments with your doctor for best advice.

Since the chance of GD to reoccur in the next pregnancy is pretty high in women with a personal history of GD, your doctor may ask you to take an oral glucose tolerance test or other blood sugar tests to analyze your insulin respond (insulin is a kind of hormone made by beta cells of pancreas and it is very important in regulating the level of glucose in the blood).

If your insulin respond is lower than normal, you need to carefully concern to monitor your blood sugar before conceiving. If your blood sugar is pretty high, your doctor usually ask you to lower it and then you need to keep it as close to normal as possible before and during pregnancy.

Any pregnant women should take a screening test for gestational diabetes. In general, those without risk factors are recommended to take the test between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy (the common time of when hormones produced by placenta will be strong enough to affect the action of insulin).

But for those who are at high risk such as if they had GD in one pregnancy, they may need to take the test earlier (before 13th week of pregnancy – ask a doctor for more advice).

Some home remedies can be a part of primary strategies to prevent gestational diabetes in second pregnancy. You can follow the following common suggestions before getting conception (some of these suggestions also can be done during pregnancy):

Lose your excessive weight if you are overweight!

As noted before, being overweight (over 30 of BMI ‘body mass index’) is one of risk factors. In other words, your chance of developing gestational diabetes in your second pregnancy can significantly increase if you are overweight before you pregnant.

Having gaining excessive weight before and during pregnancy also can be a new problem in controlling and maintaining your blood sugar and blood pressure. Read also how much you should gain weight during pregnancy on this section!

In essence, if you are overweight when trying to get pregnant, it’s much better to restore your healthy weight first before you conceive. Furthermore, if you are being overweight, this also can affect your chance of getting pregnant.

Once you conceive, doctor usually doesn’t recommend you to take any weight loss program! Losing weight during pregnancy can be potential to cause some nutrient deficiency problems which then will be bad for your pregnancy & too risky for the growth of your baby.

In addition, don’t choose instant result in losing the excessive pounds of your weight such as by taking a strenuous exercise a day or sticking with extreme weight loss diet! It’s much better to keep focus on changes that can provide gradually weight loss with permanent result, such as doing regular exercise, eating right and in well-balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep a day, managing your stress, etc.

Keep active (regular exercise)!

One of basic things that you need to follow to reduce your risk is regular exercise, particularly true and can significantly improve your chance if you are a large woman or being overweight. According to a research (Dye — in 1997), sticking with regular exercise can help reduce the chance of gestation diabetes.

Regular exercise can improve and maintain the insulin sensitivity which then can help improve your blood sugar control.

Even it also can improve your blood pressure and blood lipids. The health benefits derived from regular exercise can be modestly or even sometime can be dramatically! In pregnant women who diagnosed with gestational diabetes, regular exercise also can help them to reduce the quantity of using insulin replacement.

Exercise can be one of your best choices at improving your glucose metabolism. However always remember that your exercise can be almost useless if you do it irregularly. You need to do it regularly to get the most significant result for the improvement of your insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control!

avoid_gestational_diabetes_illustrationIf you have had a regular exercise and your doctor notice some improvements with your insulin respond, you need to keep sticking with it, why? According to a study, the improvement of insulin sensitivity related with physical conditioning will be rapidly lost when you discontinue your regular exercise.

You may not need to exercise every day, especially if you are a busy individual. But you should exercise most days of the week, going more than two days without exercise should be avoided because this can lose the benefits of your exercise in improving your blood sugar control!

You don’t need to go with high-intensity workouts. Don’t go too far when thinking about your regular workout. For instance, you can try with 20-30 minutes for simple walk a day. Prenatal yoga, water aerobics, or swimming also can be great choices to keep active. Again, the key is sticking with your exercise at regular times.

Sticking with a well-balanced diet

This is simple advice but can involve a wide range of strategies. Eating right with appropriate nutrients is not only helpful to maintain your healthy weight – but also can help improve your insulin respond, prepare your body at best condition for a healthy pregnancy, and of course can promote good health for your overall body.

In general, foods low in fats & calories and high in fiber (such as whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruits) should be prioritized in your menu. The following are some frequently asked questions about appropriate diet and eating plan to prevent gestational diabetes in the second pregnancy!

Should you stick with a low-fat diet?

As mentioned before, foods low in fat is often recommended to prevent insulin resistance. But this doesn’t mean you need to follow with an extremely low-fat diet! Though fat is commonly considered unhealthy, but your body still needs it (particularly for unsaturated fats /healthy fats).

Fat in appropriate amount can help your blood sugar control because it can help slow down your blood sugar to rise. Therefore, eating fat in moderation is much more recommended – and make sure most of your fat intake is unsaturated fats (such as olives, avocados, nuts, seeds, fish ‘like salmon & tuna’, soybean, etc)!

Low-carb diet – how far you should go?

Eating the right amount of carbohydrate is very crucial to maintain your blood sugar sensitivity. When it comes to reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, it’s much better to stick with a moderate-carb diet instead of low-carb diet.

You may find a specific calculation of how many carbohydrates that you need to eat a day. But sometime, remembering the specific number of carbohydrate counting you have to follow can be very bothersome.

In fact, you are the best one who knows the exactly amount of carbs that your body needs. When it comes to prevent gestational diabetes, it’s much more fun by eating carbohydrate that meets to your body needs — don’t eat too much carbohydrates that higher than your body needs!

Another idea, you can try with eating small meals throughout the day – this idea can help ease your morning sickness symptoms and make your insulin work more regularly.

Additionally, choose complex carbohydrates (they can provide a steady energy and make you full longer) instead of simple carbs (they are faster to be digested and can give a sudden impact for your blood sugar level)! But this doesn’t mean you need to totally avoid simple carbohydrates. You can still eat them but it’s much better to get your most carbohydrate intake a day from complex carbs!

Juices of fruits are yummy and great in taste. But make sure you eat them only once a day, because they also contain simple carbs. If you consume them more than one cup a day, it may give a sudden impact to your blood glucose.

Does chromium picolinate help improve your blood sugar control?

Some experts believe that chromium deficiencies may affect the fluctuation of blood sugar. While some studies found that taking chromium picolinate supplement may help improve blood sugar control in diabetics, other studies found that taking this supplement doesn’t help!

In general, chromium picolinate supplement work effectively if you have chromium deficiencies. However to keep safe, it’s much better you discuss with your doctor first before taking any supplement!