Gestational diabetes affects between 2 to 10 percent of pregnancies today. If you have gestational diabetes, the diabetes specialists at the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Health (CDEH) can help.
We develop a gestational diabetes diet and meal plan personalized to your needs while working closely with your obstetrician to help you manage your condition. With regular monitoring and simple lifestyle changes, you can have a healthy pregnancy with gestational diabetes.
What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes causes a woman’s blood sugar levels to rise during pregnancy. Your physician may test you for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant (or earlier if you have certain risk factors, such as obesity).
When you have gestational diabetes, your body doesn’t make or process insulin effectively. This affects how the body uses the sugars and starches it receives from the foods you eat. As a result, your body collects extra sugar in your blood that can cause your baby to receive more sugar than it needs.
Gestational diabetes can cause a baby in the womb to grow larger than normal. It can also put you at risk for health complications, including preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). Read more about complications in pregnancy from gestational diabetes.
Managing gestational diabetes with diet
You can often manage gestational diabetes with diet and exercise alone. In some cases, your physician may recommend medication to control your blood sugar levels.
To help you keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range, our team will develop a treatment plan that’s tailored to you. This plan will include multiple steps — all designed to help ensure a healthy mom and baby. These steps include:
- Seeing your doctor for all regular prenatal visits
- Eating healthy
- Staying active
- Taking prescribed medications (if necessary)
- Monitoring your blood sugar
- Watching for signs of low blood sugar
What you eat, how much you exercise, and how your baby is growing will change your blood sugar throughout the day. A certified diabetes educator from our care team can help you develop a plan that makes the most sense for you.
One of our dietitians will give you one-on-one guidance to help you make healthy food choices. We will also teach you how to monitor your blood sugar levels. Read more about medical care and gestational diabetes.
Our comprehensive gestational diabetes treatment
At the CDEH, we’re committed to helping every mom with gestational diabetes experience a healthy pregnancy. When you choose us for gestational diabetes care, you can expect:
- Expertise from endocrinologists, dietitians, and certified diabetes educators who have years of experience helping women manage pregnancy after a gestational diabetes diagnosis
- Personalized meal plan that addresses your challenges and tastes, with one-on-one guidance from a dietitian
- Team-based care from diabetes specialists who work closely with your obstetrician to ensure the health of you and your baby throughout your pregnancy
- Convenient, follow-up phone appointments to help you balance your blood sugar levels with fewer trips to our office