Disease Prevention

How to Prevent Gestational Diabetes with the Mediterranean Diet

how to prevent gestational diabetesDid you know that gestational diabetes can be prevented by making some simple changes in your diet? Recent studies show enough compelling evidence that switching to a healthier Mediterranean diet can help pregnant women reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) by as much as 24%! Sounds reason enough for you to make that change? Well, it should be!

Taking a Closer Look at the Problem – Gestational Diabetes Facts and Figures

According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) website, 2% to 10% of all pregnant women (or approximately 135,000 pregnant women) in the US suffer from gestational diabetes. While this type of diabetes usually starts about halfway through the pregnancy and goes away after giving birth, some women end up with type II diabetes later in life. In fact, about 5% to 10% of these women will be diagnosed with type II diabetes immediately after giving birth.

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Risk Factors
The following factors may increase a woman’s susceptibility to developing gestational diabetes:
• Age. Women aged 25 or older may be at a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes.
• Being overweight and/or having high blood pressure
• Too much amniotic fluid
• Giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds and/or had a birth defect
• Previous miscarriage or stillbirth
• Family history of diabetes
• Racial origin. For some unknown reasons, it was observed the American Indians, Asians, blacks and Hispanics are more likely to develop the condition.

Symptoms
The symptoms of gestational diabetes may range from non-existent to very mild. These include:
• Excessive thirst and urination
• Unexplainable weight loss despite increased appetite
• Nausea and vomiting
• Blurred vision
• Frequent infections
• Fatigue

Left undiagnosed, gestational diabetes may increase the risk of childbirth complications and may affect the baby’s health as well. Pregnant moms who have gestational diabetes are prone to suffer from high blood pressure, eclampsia and pre-eclampsia. They are likely to give birth via C-section and are more likely to experience pre-term delivery. In worst case scenarios, the baby may die as a result of the condition.

Babies born to moms with gestational diabetes usually suffer from jaundice, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and respiratory distress syndrome. Due to their large size, these babies are likely to suffer trauma or injury during the birthing process. Both the mother and the baby are also at a greater risk of developing type II diabetes later in life.

Gestational Diabetes and Your Diet

While there may be a number of treatment options available for women suffering from gestational diabetes, wouldn’t it be better if you can just prevent it right from the start? Needless to say, that will be the best option. And the good news is that it can be done – if you are willing to change the way you eat.

According to a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adhering to the Mediterranean way of eating can significantly reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes by as much as 24%! Isn’t that quite amazing? Well, honestly, it is. So, load up on whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and fish. It will definitely do you and your baby a lot of good!

Studies also indicate that drinking more than five bottles of cola per week can increase a pregnant woman’s risk for gestational diabetes by about 22%. So, if I were you, I will drink water and/or fruit juices instead.

Adhering to the Mediterranean diet does not only protect you and your baby from all the harmful effects of gestational diabetes. It also helps promote a healthier and longer life. Would you like to take advantage of all these healthy benefits? Think about it.

Enjoy a healthier pregnancy experience with the Mediterranean diet,
Ray Baker