The Best 7 Tips for Gestational Diabetes Self-Care

7 Tips for Gestational Diabetes Self-Care

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gestational diabetes self-care

Pregnancy is an unpredictable journey of joys and tears. Getting a gestational diabetes diagnosis can add extra stress to an already bumpy ride. It’s important to take some extra breaths and care for yourself. In this blog, I’m diving into essential tools for gestational diabetes self-care.

1. Acceptance.

The first step in gestational diabetes self-care is radical acceptance of where you are in your pregnancy journey. Life and pregnancy are unpredictable storms of emotional ups and downs. 

Give yourself grace. It’s normal to feel emotions and thoughts that don’t feel good when you get the gestational diabetes diagnosis and have to start watching your food intake. 

Many of us hold on to the need to control and aim for perfection. We quickly spiral or feel anxious when things don’t turn out how we ‘think’ they should. Instead of resisting or judging yourself, accept you are having a normal human reaction. 

Acknowledge

It sucks to get gestational diabetes. It’s okay. Instead of resisting the uncomfortable feeling, acknowledge that it is there. “ I am feeling fear, anger, and sadness,” or whatever it is.

Once you acknowledge your feeling, choose your direction. We are the creators of our reality. You can choose to stay on the negative path, possibly resisting instructions by your doctor or diabetes educator, or accept this as part of the journey to motherhood.

Acknowledging your feelings and choosing the positive course is the ultimate practice of self-love and self-care in gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is not your fault. Simply put, your hormones from the growing placenta are causing more insulin resistance than your pancreas can handle, and you have become extra sensitive to carbohydrates. Just like nausea from hormones is not your fault, so is this. 

Create Your Narrative

We are the creator of our reality. We can choose to change our narrative. Many women I work with on a healthy gestational diabetes diet learn lifelong tools to eat better. Most women feel better, have healthier weights, lose weight quickly postpartum, and experience less annoying pregnancy symptoms after following my approach to gestational diabetes diet and lifestyle.

Simply changing your narrative to, “This is my opportunity to pay extra attention to my diet and self-care. This will positively impact my life and my baby’s.” 
Gestational diabetes management involves weekly visits with your provider and dietitian. You can use this time to work with your team of experts to fine-tune what recipes and self-care habits you genuinely love. If you need extra help, you know I’m here for you!

2. Make Space.

It’s okay to ask for time for yourself. As women, we are taught early on to be the caretaker of everyone but ourselves. Find your quiet moments. It could be before everyone wakes up, in the shower, or the car. 

Work with your partner and support system to help you find time to focus on yourself. Parenting is teamwork, and so is self-care for all caregivers.

Take a moment to look at your day and figure out where you can schedule space for self-care. Use the tips in this blog during that time for gestational diabetes self-care. You will be amazed by the decrease in symptoms you have.

3. Build Your Environment.

Build a supportive environment around you that is glowing with positivity. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can cause blood sugar to rise and helps put your body in fight or flight mode. Creating a supportive, positive environment can help reduce unneeded stress.

Your body doesn’t know the difference between natural stressors, like a mother-in-law, or fake stressors, like suspenseful television, negative music, or negative people. Pay close attention to what builds your joy and what increases your stress.

I’ve had women go on maternity leave early because their blood sugar log showed a clear relationship between working hours and high blood sugar. 
I recommend documenting your stress level on your blood sugar log. You can use my blood sugar log to help record stress and all lifestyle that can affect blood sugar.

4. Get Quiet.

There is power in getting quiet with all the constant noise in this world. Getting quiet helps us get grounded and tune in with ourselves. It is the ultimate gestational diabetes self-care trick. Take five or more moments daily to turn off the noise, silence the phone, close your eyes, and check-in.

If you can get in nature and get quiet. Listen to mother earth, the ultimate nurturer. Take your shoes off, and walk on grass, sand, or dirt. Put your hands on your belly and feet in the earth and take ten deep breaths.

This practice will help reduce your stress levels and help you approach stress that can impact your blood sugars more mindfully. Once you start doing this practice daily, situational stress will come as a wave and be over rather than staying with you all day.

5. Journal.

Keeping a journal while you are pregnant is a beautiful practice. It can help you journal the positive so you remember, as well as help you feel your negative emotions and let them go on paper.

Even the practice of writing ten things you are grateful for each day on paper can help you maintain your positive outlook and help manage stress.

6. Sleep.

Quality sleep is one of the most important habits for gestational diabetes self-care. There is a 4% increase in blood sugar numbers for each hour of sleep lost at night. (1)

Take time to look at your sleep routine. Avoid any screen time within an hour before bed. Pay attention to the types of television you watch before bed; make sure it’s a low-stress upbeat show. Ideally, something that makes you laugh.

Try a mindfulness meditation before bed to help your body relax. My favorite is the body scan meditations to help ease into sleep. 

Make sure your room is cool and dark. Hot rooms with even ambient light can interfere with sleep quality. (2)

Before bed, have a protein snack like string cheese, a protein drink, or half a peanut butter sandwich. For many women, this will help lower morning blood sugars and prevent them from waking up hungry in the middle of the night.

7. Get a Massage

Prenatal massage is one of the most popular and effective alternative therapies in pregnancy and gestational diabetes self-care. Research shows women who receive regular massages during pregnancy have a reduction in depression, anxiety, and pain.

Cortisol levels are reduced with regular massage, which can positively impact blood sugar levels.

Research studies on labor pain show that women who receive massage therapy for 20 minutes twice weekly experience less pain and have an average of 3 hours shorter labor.

When getting a professional massage, choose a therapist trained in prenatal massage. They will have tools specifically created for your body.

Bottom Line

Practicing regular gestational self-care can help you reduce your blood sugars and help you enjoy your pregnancy. Use this time as your time to create a healthy lifestyle. Check out all my ten years of tips, tricks, and education in my Mastering Gestational Diabetes Course.

7 Gestational Diabetes Self-Care Tips Recap

  1. Acceptance.
    • Acknowledge.
    • Change the Narrative.
  2. Make Space.
  3. Build Your Environment.
  4. Get Quiet.
  5. Journal.
  6. Sleep Hygiene.
  7. Enjoy a Massage.

Great Gestational Diabetes Self-Care & Personal Development Resources:

Website | + posts

Ginger Cochran is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator & Care Specialist, Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist, and owner of Nutritious Ginger, an integrative and functional nutrition practice focusing on full body self-care and nourishment. Ginger’s primary specialty is women’s health, with a special emphasis on gestational diabetes, weight management, infertility, digestive wellness, and overall health + happiness.
Ginger serves on the board of director for the Nutrition Care Manual by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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