Healthy Habits can Help Prevent Diabetes in Your Future
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is found for the first time when a woman is pregnant. If you had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, you and your child from that pregnancy have a lifelong risk for developing diabetes, a serious disease that can lead to health problems such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and amputations. The good news is there are steps you can take to prevent or delay diabetes and lower that risk for yourself and your child.
“Women with a history of gestational diabetes can lower their chances for developing diabetes by taking steps to reach and maintain a healthy weight, making healthy food choices, and being active,” according to Judith Fradkin, M.D., of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Keeping a healthy lifestyle as a family is good for everyone.”
Keep up healthy habits – even after the baby is born.
Many women who have gestational diabetes see a dietitian or a diabetes educator to guide them in developing healthy habits during pregnancy. But what many women don’t realize is that it’s just as important to keep up with those healthy habits even after the baby is born.
If you are a woman who had gestational diabetes, it is important to get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born, and at least every three years after that.
It is also important to reach and maintain a healthy weight by making healthy food choices, such as following an eating plan lower in fat and calories and high in fiber, and being active for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Even if women do not reach their “goal” weight, research shows that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce risk.
Busy Mom? Build physical activity into your day one step at a time.
Physical activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight and preventing type 2 diabetes. Set a goal to be active at least 30 minutes, 5 days per week. If you have not been active, start slowly, building up to your goal. Take small steps to include physical activity in your day-to-day routine.
Busy moms can use these tips to get started:
• Park your car farther away from the store, movie theater, your office, etc.
• Get your friends and family involved. Set a regular walking date, such as after dinner. Or do something that all ages can enjoy—shoot hoops, take a bike ride, or just dance around the house.
• Take a walk during your lunch break or push the baby’s stroller around the mall.
• Don’t just watch the kids at the playground… play with them.
• Deliver a message to a co-worker in person instead of by e-mail, and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Exhausted from a busy day and just want to plop on the couch in front of the TV? Use the commercial breaks to stretch, take a quick walk around your home, do some sit-ups, or march in place.
For more information, visit the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org/GDM.