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What is Gestational Diabetes and How Will It Effect My Pregnancy?

What is Gestational Diabetes?

In a nutshell, Gestational Diabetes (GD) is a label applied when a pregnant person’s Blood Glucose Levels (BGL) are higher than “normal”. Regardless of your general health or existing risk factors for developing GD, you will likely be asked to take a test around the midway point in your pregnancy (you know the one we’re talking about - the “dreaded” and somewhat controversial orange drink you’ve likely heard about from your friends?) What they are testing for is to see how quickly your body is able to work to bring your blood sugar levels back down to a normal range after shocking your system with a huge sugar bump.

gestational diabetes pregnancy ptbo

What does having GD mean, exactly?

Around the 20th week of pregnancy, your placenta starts releasing hormones that cause some level of insulin resistance in your cells (ie. the insulin naturally produced by your body cannot absorb the excess glucose from your blood as easily because the cells have become resistant to insulin). When this happens, the body starts producing more insulin to capture as much excess glucose as possible, but sometimes the body can’t keep up. When this happens, there is an excess of glucose in your blood and you may be labelled as having Gestational Diabetes. The good news is that this condition is temporary and will typically resolve itself after you give birth to your beautiful baby! However, while you are pregnant, there are some things you should know about the label of Gestational Diabetes and some of the choices you may have to make in the coming months.

How can having high BGL affects me and my baby?

When a pregnant person has high BGL continuously during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of the pregnant person struggling with high blood pressure, developing pre-eclampsia and possibly Type 2 Diabetes or heart disease later on in life. Because your baby is also receiving some of that extra glucose, their body will bump up their level of insulin production to regulate their own BGLs and after birth, when that extra insulin isn’t needed, baby could have some trouble regulating their BGL while glucose and insulin levels balance out. If the high BGLs are not managed well, there is an increased risk of preterm or complicated birth as well.

gestational diabetes and big babies


One of the biggest concerns that people (including health care providers) have when GD comes into the picture of the potential of having a “big baby”. While it is possible that a bigger baby could mean a tricky birth due to shoulder dystocia or a possible cesarean section, it is certainly not a foregone conclusion! Yes, when babies are getting more glucose during gestation they do tend to get a bit chunkier, especially in the upper body, but there is no reason to panic. People give birth to “big” babies (what does “big” even mean?) all the time! If you have high BGLs or have been labelled as having GD, make sure you take some time to read up a bit on this issue because your care provider will almost certainly have concerns and you will want to be an informed participant in an important conversation!

For more information on Gestational Diabetes, “big babies” and inductions check out this great post over at Evidence Based Birth Does Gestational Diabetes Always Mean a Big Baby and Induction?

So, if I am labelled as having Gestational Diabetes, what does that mean for my pregnancy and birth?

For most people, managing Blood Glucose Levels and having a healthy and happy pregnancy is totally achievable with a little extra self-care and good communication with your health care team throughout your pregnancy. Having Gestational Diabetes does not mean you are sick or that you cannot physically have the birth you have envisioned for yourself.

Advocating for evidence based care (as opposed to routine care) will be very important if you are hoping to have a vaginal birth or to avoid an induction because, unfortunately, many care providers feel the risk of a “big baby” outweighs the risks of induction or cesarean birth, even though the evidence does not necessarily support that conclusion.

The reality is that once you have been labelled as having Gestational Diabetes, even if your BGLs are within normal limits after the initial “diagnosis”, you will be faced with limitations on when and where your care providers are comfortable with you giving birth. Giving birth at home is often ruled out as an option (though not always - so if this is a goal make sure to you advocate for yourself) and inductions or planned cesareans become part of the conversations you will be having with your team as they work to reduce documented and perceived risks to you or your baby.

Keep the conversation going with your healthcare providers about what their concerns are and above all, ask for evidence based information to help you decide how you would like to move forward with your birth.

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What can I do to take care of myself and regulate my BGLs?

Depending on how high your BGLs are, you will be able to help regulate your levels through diet, exercise, oral medications or insulin. There is some evidence to suggest that, if medication is needed, managing BGLs with oral medications in place of insulin may reduce the risk of your baby having low-blood sugar after birth (for more see Cochrane review here) . One more thing to add to your list of questions when you talk to your doctor or midwives!

Whether or not medication is required, connecting with a dietitian to help you meal plan in a way that will keep you happy and healthy is a great idea and will take some of the guess work out what can seem like a big life change. If you are reading this blog post and are from the Peterborough, ON like we are, you can check out this great list of Registered Dietitians in our area to get started.

Your body. Your baby. Your birth!

Finding out that you have Gestational Diabetes is probably not the news you were hoping for but it isn’t necessarily bad news. You can have a happy and healthy pregnancy - we promise! Ask questions, work with your healthcare team to get the care that you want, and remember when it comes to birth it is your body and your baby and you are the one calling the shots!













Running on coffee & willpower alone? We've got you covered.

"I hope you sleep like a baby" is the worst saying ever!

Getting enough sleep is SO important. It affects your physical and emotional well being and every new parent goes through a period of what seem like sleepless nights... or even sleepless weeks!  While it is totally normal for your baby to wake up during the night to eat or for comfort (as often as every 2 or 3 hours for the first few weeks of life, if not longer!), it can take a toll on you pretty quickly. 

Learn about healthy sleep & set realistic expectations.

Once your baby is about 4 months old, it is a great time to start helping them develop healthy sleep habits so that everyone is getting the sleep that they need while also getting the food and comfort that they need. It can be a really tricky thing to do on your own which is why there are amazing people like Erin Oliveira who are Infant Sleep Educators and Consultants to work with you and help you set up a healthy routine!

Through the knowledge gained from her research and her ECE and Psychology background, Erin Oliveira has been able to guide many other moms to help their babies sleep better. Erin attended the Family Sleep Institute and is a Certified Sleep Consultant and a trained Good Night Sleep Site Educator.

Through the knowledge gained from her research and her ECE and Psychology background, Erin Oliveira has been able to guide many other moms to help their babies sleep better. Erin attended the Family Sleep Institute and is a Certified Sleep Consultant and a trained Good Night Sleep Site Educator.

Learn about healthy sleep & set realistic expectations.

In this 2 hour workshop held in the Hello, Baby! hub 7pm to 9pm, Erin will explain the basics about infant sleep and how to build healthy habits for your baby and your family. During class, Erin will touch on important issues such as: 

-Expectations on baby to preschool sleep needs.

-When and how to choose the right method of sleep training for your family.

-Safe sleep for baby.

-Setting up your environment for sleep success.

-Managing sleep associations.

-Taming toddler bedtimes battles.

There will also be a time for a Q&A session where you can get advice from Erin on your situation and which strategies may be best for you and your family. Each participant will also leave with helpful handouts and FREE Tricks of The Sleep Trade e-book as an added resource.
 

Infant Sleep Workshop Hello Baby Peterborough

Make a plan and get the sleep you need!

If you are struggling to get the sleep you need and feel like everyone would be healthier and happier with a few more zzzzz on the daily, this workshop will get you started out on the right path!  You will learn so much and leave with some first steps you can put in place to start changing the way you and your baby sleep!

Are you ready to kick cold & flu season in the butt?!

It’s that time of year again...

Whether your kiddo is going to school or daycare, 'tis the season for GERMS!  We are STOKED that Maggie Savage, Holistic Nutritionist and founder of She Let Them Eat Cake, is bringing an AMAZEBALLS make-and-take style class to the Hello, Baby! hub.

Maggie Savage is  passionate about the connection between food, plant medicine, and health. She can’t help but take that passion and share it with the world as she is committed to showing everyone how easy it is to live your fullest life feeling good and looking fabulous.

Maggie Savage is  passionate about the connection between food, plant medicine, and health. She can’t help but take that passion and share it with the world as she is committed to showing everyone how easy it is to live your fullest life feeling good and looking fabulous.

Back to School with Essential Oils!

In this 2 hour make & take style workshop you'll learn about the power of dōTERRA’s therapeutic grade essential oils with Maggie Savage, Holistic Nutritionist and founder of She Let Them Eat CakeThen you will get to make 3 super useful and kid-friendly DIY items using these oils.

1. Hand Sanitizing spray

2. Immune Bomb roller bottle blend

3. Calming bath salts

This AMAZEBALLS workshop is happening Tuesday September 25th from 7pm - 9pm right here in the Hello, Baby! hub (241 Charlotte Street, across from Shoppers Drug Mart). 

Essential Oils Workshop Hello Baby Peterborough

Block germs and wash away anxiety.

Maggie will guide you through how to safely make and use essential oil products with your littles while you work. This workshop is going to be so much fun and space is limited so grab your seat ASAP!

Father's Day Gifts That Rock!

Gifts for Dad, too!

The Hello, Baby! shop has tons of amazing, locally made and environmentally friendly products for the whole family. This Father's Day come into the shop and check them out - you might be surprised at all of the amazing gift ideas you will find.

Lookin' cool and smelling fresh.

What to get Dad for Father's Day?!  The struggle is real, friends. If the Dad in your world likes gifts that check all the boxes, then you want to check out these dad-approved gift options! 

Keepin' it real with our Pretty Good Parent Club T-Shirt available in sized M - XXL.

Keepin' it real with our Pretty Good Parent Club T-Shirt available in sized M - XXL.

The Pretty Good Parent Club T

The Pretty Good Parent Club T-Shirt is a must have!  Locally designed and printed, these gems are on point. Comfy fabric, huge range of sizes, and a great message mean this shirt will suit everyone's taste. What Dad doesn't like a snappy T?!

Simply Natural Canada has some amazing slices of soap in delicious scents that are sure to please the Dad in your life!  Beer + Soap = Dadlicious!

Simply Natural Canada has some amazing slices of soap in delicious scents that are sure to please the Dad in your life!  Beer + Soap = Dadlicious!

Beer + Soap. 

Dads like to get clean, too!  These soaps from Simply Natural Canada (made right here in Peterborough) are just the ticket. The smells AMAZING with blends like Dandelion Beer and Juniper Cedarwood Ale. These thick cut slabs of soap are sure to impress the Dad is your life and you will enjoy him smelling like an herbacious alehouse! 

We've got you covered.

Shopping for Father's Day can be tricky - we know it!  But don't worry, we've got you covered with some local, sustainable, and cool Father's Day gifts perfect for the Dads in your life.  Come into the shop and pick up your gifts before the weekend - Dad will be be pumped!