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Catching and Treating Gestational Diabetes Early

Ava Lawson | March 15th, 2013

Gestational Diabetes DietAccording to the National Institutes of Health, doctors diagnose about 240,000 cases of gestational diabetes every year – that’s nearly 6 percent of U.S. pregnancies. At present, most health care providers test for the disease using a two-step approach, but there is pressure by many in the medical community to adopt the simpler one-step method, which is backed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Recently, the National Institutes of Health panel convened and agreed that more pregnant women would be diagnosed with gestational diabetes – 15 to 20 percent – if physicians employed the more aggressive, one-step approach.

This fast-track approach isn’t only about limiting visits to the doctor’s office to just once; it would also lower the blood glucose benchmark for classifying the condition. Dr. Catherine Spong of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development commented, “The implications of this are very, very large, and there are so many unanswered questions.” Gestational diabetes is a growing concern for millions of Americans as more women are having children later in life and starting their pregnancies at an unhealthy weight. The rate of gestational diabetes is climbing and if this new change in testing is adopted, these numbers could quickly triple.

Gestational diabetes diet used to treat mild cases

The push for change came on the heels of a study conducted on 25,000 pregnant women in multiple countries. Researchers discovered that risks for both mother and child increased along with the mother’s blood sugar levels – even in cases where she wasn’t fully diabetic.

Using the one-step test, expectant mothers who are diagnosed with mild cases will be treated with a healthy gestational diabetes diet and exercise in lieu of medication. While proponents say that catching early cases can impact the future health of unborn children, detractors argue there are no studies proving that treating early cases has any affect on the mother and baby’s wellbeing. Gestational diabetes may result in a large baby, a newborn with low blood sugars, and a greater need for a C-section delivery.

Gestational diabetes symptoms

Most mothers are tested for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. While symptoms are not always present, early warning signs to look out for include:

  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Recurring bladder, vaginal, and skin infections
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive fatigue

Reversing diabetes through diet is possible

Expectant mothers who are diagnosed with high blood sugar levels will likely be prescribed a gestational diabetes diet that includes healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and a low sugar intake. As many patients soon discover, diabetes and weight loss are interconnected, and by following a nutritious diet and shedding excess pounds, most can reverse their diagnosis completely – whether its gestational diabetes, pre diabetes, or advanced Type 2.

A physician-guided program, such as those available at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, may be an ideal solution for individuals trying to prevent or manage their diabetes. Your personal weight loss physician will develop a customized meal plan and exercise regimen to follow, and will offer one-on-one counseling to help address the root of your eating behaviors. Locate the Center nearest you via the box at top right, and be sure to ask about special introductory offers available for first-time clients.