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What It Means After Having Gestational Diabetes

Natalie Stein
September 24, 2020
Gestational diabetes

Women who had gestational diabetes, or high blood sugar during pregnancy, your doctor may have had you on a strict regimen to monitor blood sugar, eat a special diet, and take insulin to lower blood sugar. But what happens after you give birth?

Here are the basics on how to keep tabs on blood sugar and how Lark can help you prevent or manage diabetes if blood sugar remains high.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

As many as 1 in 10 pregnant women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is higher-than-normal blood sugar that develops during pregnancy, usually around 24 to 28 weeks. 

Gestational diabetes can develop because of insulin resistance that can happen as hormones change during pregnancy. Weight gain during pregnancy, especially higher than normal weight gain, can also contribute to insulin resistance.

Gestational Diabetes and Risk of Diabetes

After giving birth, hormone levels can return to normal levels. Blood sugar may also return to normal levels. However, having gestational diabetes increases your risk for diabetes later in life. About half of women with gestational diabetes eventually develop diabetes.

Blood Sugar Testing after Giving Birth

It is important to keep testing blood sugar after giving birth. If they return to normal levels, you will not need to take insulin anymore, and you may be able to be less strict with your diet. However, you will need to keep testing blood sugar regularly, such as every year, to see whether prediabetes or diabetes develops.

After giving birth, if your blood sugar or A1C levels show that you have prediabetes, you can join a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) such as Lark DPP to try to prevent diabetes. If your blood sugar or A1C levels show that you have diabetes, a program such as Lark for Diabetes Care can help manage blood sugar levels, along with medications and ongoing lifestyle changes that you may have made when you were pregnant.

Managing Blood Sugar after Gestational Diabetes

After gestational diabetes, there are some lifestyle changes that can help control blood sugar. If blood sugar is normal or you have prediabetes, losing weight or maintaining a normal-BMI weight can help keep blood sugar in check. Getting at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity is another powerful to reduce insulin resistance. 

Eating right is another way to keep blood sugar down. High-fiber foods, such as fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts can all help stabilize blood sugar. Other good foods are fish, reduced-fat dairy products, and healthy fats, such as from olive oil and avocados. Foods that can raise blood sugar, and also contribute to weight gain, include fatty meats, sugar-sweetened foods, and fried foods.

If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medications, such as insulin or metformin (Glucophage) or other blood sugar-lowering medications. Your doctor or a nutritionist may also suggest monitoring carbohydrate intake and testing blood sugar frequently.

Lark DPP and Lark for Diabetes

If you had gestational diabetes, are overweight, and do not have diabetes, you are eligible to join a DPP. Lark DPP is available 24/7 through your smartphone. It offers coaching around losing weight and making other healthy changes that fit into your lifestyle. The goal is to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.

Lark Diabetes Care is for people with type 2 diabetes. It can help you manage medication, monitor blood sugar, and follow diet and physical activity recommendations that can help bring blood sugar to target levels and prevent complications of diabetes.

Author
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health