Services & Procedures
A balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy pregnancy and preventing excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure from developing. All expectant mothers can benefit from following dietary guidelines that provide sufficient nutrients; however, these guidelines can be slightly different for each person. Prenatal nutritional counseling strives to provide a healthy standard of eating to maximize the advantages to both the mother and growing baby while still allowing for a wide dietary variety.
The foods you eat during pregnancy will have an impact on your developing baby since you are the baby’s only source of nutrition. Therefore, when you eat healthfully, the baby receives many important nutrients to help it grow. There are also foods that you should avoid during pregnancy because they may pose a risk to the fetus. These include certain types of seafood that have high levels of mercury and soft, unpasteurized cheeses. In addition, it is best to limit your caffeine intake and to refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages. Bacteria from unwashed produce and undercooked meats can also be more dangerous during pregnancy and special care should be taken when preparing these foods.
Our prenatal nutritional counseling services involve a customized diet plan that takes into account each patient's nutritional goals, preferences, overall health and medical history. Every woman can benefit from nutritional counseling during pregnancy, especially patients with food allergies, eating disorders and certain medical conditions. Ongoing treatment allows for evolving dietary guidelines that can offer the most effective results.
Gestational diabetes is considered to be any form of impaired glucose tolerance first recognized during pregnancy. This occurs in as many as 18% of all pregnancies and is more common in older mothers-to-be, smokers and obese patients.
Although risk factors aid in determining the chance of developing gestational diabetes, there are no risk factors present in about 50% of affected women. For most women, gestational diabetes does not persist after pregnancy. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life than women who have not had gestational diabetes.
Patients usually show no symptoms of gestational diabetes, thus necessitating universal screening for the condition between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. However, some patients may show some symptoms of untreated diabetes including:
The screening to determine the presence of gestational diabetes includes the patient drinking a sweet glucose solution, then having blood drawn to test sugar levels. If the findings are higher than normal, a follow-up test is performed after an overnight fast. A similar glucose solution is consumed in the morning and the blood is tested every hour in a three-hour period. If these measurements are found to be high at least twice in this three hour period then diabetes is present.
Gestational diabetes is essential to diagnose, as it poses significant risk to both child and mother. Most of these risks are directly related to the elevated levels of glucose in the blood, and their severity increases as the blood glucose concentration gets more extreme. The mother has a greater chance of developing high blood pressure and preeclampsia during pregnancy.
The excess sugar can cause certain growth abnormalities in the baby such as macrosomia (very large baby). These abnormalities can increase the likelihood of needing a Cesarean section. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes have an increased risk for chemical imbalances (i.e. low blood calcium and magnesium), an abnormally high red blood cell count and hypoglycemia at birth. Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes also face a higher risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes as they mature.
Treatment for gestational diabetes is primarily focused on reducing the inherent risks to both mother and child. The most common method is counseling, in which the mother is taught the benefits and relative ease of following both dietary and exercise guidelines. Losing weight by eating healthy foods, restricting portion sizes and exercising consistently can often help keep gestational diabetes in check. An example of a conservative routine would be eating a 2000-2500 calorie diet while avoiding simple sugars in addition to a schedule of walking one to three times a day for 10 to 20 minutes each.
If these measures prove to be inadequate, then insulin therapy can be employed. Self-monitoring blood glucose levels and anti-diabetic drugs are usually given to women exhibiting multiple risk factors. It is also important to note that breastfeeding has been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes in both mother and child.
To learn more about our Services & Procedures or to make an appointment, call us at (323) 857-1952.