Reduce Your Risk for Gestational Diabetes

by Della H. Harris

exercising with babyWant to lessen your risk of gestational diabetes? One answer is don't gain between your pregnancies.

Gaining weight between the first and second pregnancy (also known as "interconception") increases your odds of gestational diabetes, researchers say.

But losing weight between the first and second pregnancies appeared to reduce the gestational diabetes risk in a second pregnancy, particularly for women who were overweight or obese.

According to the data that is based on a 5-foot-4 woman, if the amount gained pregnancies is 12-17 pounds, there is two times the risk of gestational diabetes. If the gain is more than 18 pounds, there is three times the risk. If six or more pounds are lost, the risk reduces by half.

Dropping the Pounds

If you've got a new baby, you might be missing out on your zzzz's, time's a premium and cooking isn't high on the list. It can be a challenge just to exercise and take care of yourself. So how are you going to shed that weight? Try these ideas and see if they'll help!

Research-Based Tips for Healthy Postpartum Slimdown

Ask for help: Take friends and family up on their offers to help with meals, shopping and cleaning. Use that saved time for you!

Breastfeeding uses calories: Research indicates women who breastfeed their babies for at least six months are more likely to achieve their "healthy weight" goal after pregnancy. Making milk uses 500 calories a day. Suggestion: Have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast; it's said to be good for health, heart, weight and breastfeeding.

High-protein foods fight hunger: Your body and baby's need those protein building blocks. Tip: Chose lean cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products. Alternate with vegetable proteins. Milk products contain casein, a slow-digesting natural amino acid that leaves you feeling full longer.

Include fish in your menu: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish battle depression and mood swings and help build baby's brain. Don't like fish? How about nuts? Allergic to nuts? You can try flax seed.

Relieve stress and trauma
Adopt healthy habits. Fuel your body with natural anti-inflammatory agents like fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and wild-caught seafood. Go out and play! Get plenty of rest. Skip processed sugar and grains. You'll feel yourself again in no time!

Meet up with friends: Anxiety and postpartum depression are associated with postpartum weight retention. Find mommy friends, laugh a bunch, get out and about and contact your midwife or doctor if you're feeling down.

Focus on your ABC's: Vitamins, that is! Here's your quick source guide:

Vitamin A: Carrots, Spinach, Sweet potatoes, Kale
Vitamin B: Fish, Beef, Eggs
Vitamin C: Red peppers, Oranges, Broccoli
Vitamin D: Sunlight, Eggs, Mushrooms, Fortified Milk
Vitamin E: Nuts, Seeds, Eggs

Sneak a nap: Sleep deprivation boosts your "I'm starving hormone" which stomps on your "I'm full and content hormone". Feel good about skipping the dishes and sleep while your baby naps.

Get moving: And what better way than playing with your baby? Try these "guaranteed-to-burn-calorie" activities:

- Dancing: Hold that baby and bebop around to loud music
- Baby bicycle legs: Giggles for all and an upper arm workout for you
- Airplane: Become the baby's craft of the day. Buzz, soar and dive bomb the pounds away.

Dump the soda: Regular and diet soft drinks are associated with obesity. Suggestion: Substitute water. A twist of lemon or lime spruces it up plus detoxifies! Moms Share

We've reached out to other moms to have them share their invaluable tips to lose baby fat.

According to Bonnie Berk, "Exercise classes designed especially for moms and babies are an excellent way to get the needed exercise and, just as important, network with other new moms."

Darcy Novo Albrecht of Lullabye Exercises says, "I got into doing Lullabye Exercising when my baby would not stop crying. That was the bottom line. It was about making him happy and I was getting a bit of a tight tushy there at the same time! I found myself dancing around the house and doing squats. The up and down motion calmed him and he usually fell asleep."

Joee aka girlisrad says, "Make hay while the sun shines! Prepare healthy snacks when you get the chance so you're not reaching for junk. Have your "couch basket" filled with water, snacks and all things you need to be handy when your stuck on the couch with the baby."

More Tips and Ideas

What's a Good Postnatal Beginner's Pace?
Exercising After the First Month Postpartum
Mom-Friendly Fitness Workouts: Getting Back in Shape
Five Easy Steps to Regain Your Pre-Pregnancy Body
Nutrition, Exercise, and Weight Loss While Breastfeeding

Medical Reference:
Co-authors: Monique M. Hedderson, PhD; Juanran Feng, MS; Erica R. Davenport; Erica P Gunderson, PhD; and Assiamira Ferrara, MD, PhD. Includes 22,351 women frοm Northern California over a 10-year period. Compared weight gain between first and second pregnancies with gestational diabetes risk.