How can healthcare providers help manage gestational diabetes?

Healthcare providers play an important role in many aspects of their patients’ lives. This is especially true for pregnant women, who have a unique set of needs. Women with special pregnancy conditions like gestational diabetes need to pay extra attention to their diets and their health.

Healthcare providers only see their patients on a periodic basis, but the ways they inform and assist their patients are crucial to the day-to-day reality of a successful pregnancy. Here are some of the ways that healthcare providers are an important resource for women with gestational diabetes.

  1. Keeping women well-informed
    Being informed about gestational diabetes is the first step towards prevention and management. Details about how the condition works, as well as risks and ways to monitor blood sugar are all things that need to be discussed with the patient so that she has a well-rounded understanding of the condition, and the way it can interact with her pregnancy in particular. Healthy eating and appropriate exercise regimens should also be discussed at appointments.
  2. Performing tests and taking measurements at appointments
    Providers give patients blood glucose tests around weeks 24 to 28 to test for gestational diabetes. At appointments, healthcare providers perform tests like ultrasounds and non-stress tests to measure the fetal heartbeat. Having consistent check-ups is essential during pregnancy, and especially in a pregnancy with gestational diabetes, so that potential complications can be detected early.
  3. Prescribing medication
    Sometimes medication is needed to help manage the condition. If a healthcare provider determines this to be the case, they can prescribe it to the patient. Insulin injections are often prescribed for gestational diabetes, but you should talk to your healthcare provider about your given situation.
  4. Referring patients to specialists in nutrition or exercise
    Nutrition and weight management are very important for women with gestational diabetes, so if a woman is having a hard time with either, her healthcare provider can refer her to a professional who can give more specific health recommendations and outline a highly detailed course of action. Proper nutrition and healthy amounts of exercise are among the best tools women have for managing gestational diabetes.
  5. Answering questions
    It’s not easy to remember everything about pregnancy, and most women who get pregnant aren’t medically trained. So it’s understandable that they’d have a lot of questions about what’s happening throughout the course of their pregnancy. Healthcare providers make themselves available to answer all kinds of questions so that women feel knowledgeable and informed about their pregnancies and their overall health.
  6. Having compassion and understanding
    It can be overwhelming to be diagnosed with any condition during pregnancy. Healthcare providers can help to ease any worries or fears that pregnant women have about their health. By being attentive and understanding, healthcare professionals can be a solid resource for women during this time.

If you’d like some extra support dealing with gestational diabetes, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.

  • “First Steps to Managing Gestational Diabetes.” Aurora Health Care. PDF x22991. Feb 2016. Web.
  • “Your health care team.” Diabetes. American Diabetes Association, Jun 5 2015. Web.
  • “Who’s who in gestational diabetes care.” Tommys. Tommy’s, Mar 1 2015. Web.
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