The Juna Women podcast is a weekly discussion where Juna Founder, Sarah, talks to Moms about their health, work, parenting, and all the different ways they’re keeping it together. This is Episode 006, Gestational Diabetes with Becca Pardess.
Rebecca Pardess is a creative content strategist with more than seven years’ digital marketing experience. Becca has worked with companies like FX Networks, Yahoo!, CBS Television Distribution, Beachbody, and Fitplan.
When the show was recorded Becca was just days away from having her first baby and we are happy to report she has delivered a healthy baby boy, Kenton Shane.
We talked about her path to pregnancy, which included a miscarriage, and how she handled the surprising news that she had gestational diabetes.
This was an enlightening episode for the Juna Moms community as Becca is our first guest with Gestational Diabetes.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a woman without diabetes develops high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes generally results in few symptoms; however, it does increase the risk of pre-eclampsia, depression, and requiring a Caesarean section. Babies born to mothers with poorly treated gestational diabetes are at increased risk of being too large, having low blood sugar after birth, and jaundice. If untreated, it can also result in a stillbirth. Long term, children are at higher risk of being overweight and developing type 2 diabetes.
Who is at risk for Gestational Diabetes?
The craziest part about Gestational Diabetes, and was true in Becca’s case, is that about 40–60% of women have no demonstrable risk factor. Typically, women exhibit no symptoms, which is why many advocate that all women be tested.
Gestational diabetes affects ~3–9% of pregnancies. It is especially common during the last three months of pregnancy. It affects 1% of those under the age of 20 and 13% of those over the age of 44.
Classical risk factors for developing gestational diabetes may include:
- A previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes or prediabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, or impaired fasting glycaemia
- A family history revealing a first-degree relative with type 2 diabetes
- Maternal age – a woman’s risk factor increases as she gets older (especially for women over 35 years of age).
- Paternal age – one study found that a fathers age over 55 years was associated with GD
- Ethnicity (those with higher risk factors include African-Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and people originating from South Asia)
- Being overweight, obese or severely obese increases the risk
Tips For Mamas With Gestational Diabetes
As stated above, there may be no discernible reason why you are diagnosed with GD, however, there are some things you can do.
- Find Support – Becca joined a Facebook Group which helped her tremendously. You can also join the Juna Moms Facebook Group to discuss things like GD with real Moms.
- Eat Healthy – If you have gestational diabetes, it is important to eat healthy carbohydrates to help you control your blood glucose level. Becca has some great tips on this in the podcast.
- Exercise Regularly – There is no guarantee that exercise will prevent or help with GD, but it certainly can’t hurt. When you work your muscles they use up more of the glucose in your blood, which helps control your blood sugar level.
- Monitor Blood Sugar Often – Because pregnancy causes the body’s need for energy to change, blood sugar levels can change very quickly. Check your blood sugar often, as directed by your doctor.
- Take Insulin, If Needed – Sometimes a woman with gestational diabetes must take insulin. If insulin is ordered by your doctor, take it as directed in order to help keep blood sugar under control.
- Get Tested for Diabetes after Pregnancy – Gestational diabetes typically goes away after the baby is born, however it’s good to get tested to ensure you have no complications. Get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born, and then every 1 to 3 years. When it does not go away, the diabetes is called type 2 diabetes. Even if the diabetes does go away after the baby is born, half of all women who had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later. It’s important for a woman who has had gestational diabetes to continue to exercise and eat a healthy diet after pregnancy to prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes.
Juna is a fitness and nutrition app created to help guide you through your pregnancy and motherhood journey. Everything we do is designed to empower and support you through one of the most rewarding, and challenging, times of your life. You can try it free.
You can connect with Becca here on Instagram, @heybeccahey.
Becca talks about the book, The Mongan Method, a book on HypnoBirthing.
06:50 – We discuss Becca’s first pregnancy which ended with a miscarriage.
11:00 – We talk about how her husband dealt with the miscarriage and how emotions can be difficult to express for men.
21:00 – Gestational Diabetes discussion. How she got tested and dealt with the results.
42:00 – We talk about breastfeeding, pumping, and storing milk.
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