Tips for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes After Pregnancy
Did you have gestational diabetes mellitus, or GDM, during pregnancy? If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Diabetes Education Program, it’s possible that as many as 18 percent of pregnancies in the United States are affected by GDM, which is a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy.
If you’re a woman with a history of GDM, listen up! One of the downfalls of this condition is that your chances of developing type 2 diabetes later in life are increased. However, there are steps you can take to help prevent developing this chronic disease.
The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan offers the following tips for helping prevent diabetes later in life:
- Regular screening tests are important. If you had GDM during pregnancy, you should get tested 6-12 months after your baby is born. If your blood glucose level is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes, you may have prediabetes and should be tested once a year.
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight. Try to reach your pre-pregnancy weight six to 12 months after your baby is born. If this goal seems like a stretch, work toward losing five to seven percent of your body weight and keeping it off. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 10 to 14 pounds can help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Healthy eating habits will benefit you and your family. Choose low calorie foods that are low in fat and sodium grams. Incorporate fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein into your meals.
- Be active. Physical activity is crucial for staying healthy and preventing type 2 diabetes. Set a goal to be active for 30 minutes a day, five days per week, or 150 minutes per week. Some activities that will help increase your heart rate include brisk walking, jogging, biking, dancing, and swimming.
Instilling healthy habits in your everyday life will inspire your entire family’s daily routine. A healthy YOU means a healthy baby and family.
Here are some links to additional resources with information on GDM and reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes:
- National Kidney Foundation of Michigan
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Managing Gestational Diabetes: A Patient’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
Mary Hiller is a communications coordinator for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. She hopes to provide Michigan residents with resources that will help them live a healthy life. Mary enjoys doing yoga, trying new restaurants, and the (sunny) Michigan outdoors.
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Photo credit: Ana Patícia Almeida (Main)