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I've Got Gestational Diabetes. Now What?

7 tips to help you manage gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

I've Got Gestational Diabetes. Now What?

So you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes (aka GD). Now what? Personally, I was devastated. How could this happen to me? Why did this happen? Did I do something wrong? What should I do?

After my doctor diagnosed me with the condition and told me all the horrible things that could go wrong, I left his office with my head spinning. I got in my car, sat down and had to take some serious deep breaths. And then I realized: everything my doctor had told me about gestational diabetes was a blur. What kit did I have to pick up at the pharmacy? What food did I need to avoid? Why was I supposed to wait a week to meet with my nutritionist if what I was eating could harm my baby? Could someone hit the rewind button, please?

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To give you some background, I’m a healthy gal: I watch what I eat -- sugar is a treat, not a main food group; and I’m not a gym rat, but I exercise every day, whether I choose to walk or do yoga. I made it a point to eat super healthy from the very beginning of my pregnancy and gained a grand total of 28 pounds. So how was “I” diagnosed with GD?! Since I am not a doctor, I’m not going to get into the “why,” but I do want to share my journey and what I learned along the way.

I had to prick my finger four times a day to track my blood sugar, which I found both annoying and invasive. But I was able to use the data to help manage my way through GD and, most importantly, found a way to control it with diet and exercise. Here are seven tips that helped me cope with and manage my gestational diabetes.

1. Take a pregnant pause: First, remember that it is not your fault -- pregnancy is extremely taxing on the body. Then, take a minute (or several) to digest the diagnosis. Gestational diabetes is scary, annoying, frustrating and invasive. So talk to your partner or closest friends, and vent. Finally, surround yourself with other women whom also went through it.

2. Get educated: Gestational diabetes is a beast, so read as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions to your doctor. Go over the food dos and don’ts with your nutritionist, and keep a food journal, in which you can write every specific questions you may have along the way.

3. Buy a glucose machine of your own choosing: The first machine I purchased was the cheap, basic kind that my pharmacist suggested. After two weeks of use, my numbers kept being abnormal, regardless of what I was eating. So I did research and got a top-ranked glucose machine that eventually never failed me. It’s easy to go mad about your blood glucose levels, so make sure you arm yourself with reliable technology.

4. Have healthy snacks around at ALL times: Even though your nutritionist will help you map out your diabetic diet, you are pregnant and likely to get cravings. Since you can no longer give in, you’ll need to keep smart and healthy snacks around: veggies, nuts (a cup a day) and cheese were my go-to munchies. To help you resist temptations and stay strict, I suggest shopping ahead of time and having food at the ready.

5. Move: exercising will not only keep your blood sugar levels in check, it will keep your endorphins cranking. In other words, it will make you a happier person. Though there are many pregnancy-safe workouts to choose from, walking 20 minutes a day -- rain or shine -- is all you really need. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor before committing to any physical activities.

6. Treat yourself…often: it’s important to take time for yourself and find ways to turn off and not think about your next meal or your glucose levels. So find a way to relax and reflect. I particularly loved prenatal massages (I got them on a weekly basis), baths and pedicures.

7. Yes, you feel like a case study. But you are not your gestational diabetes: One of the more frustrating aspects of gestational diabetes was having to get bi-weekly to weekly ultrasounds. I had to be hooked up to the heart monitor during every visits, and my doctor reviewed my food journal like it was a college term paper. Don’t get me wrong, some cases are serious, and these invasive procedures are necessary. But it doesn’t make it any easier. All I wanted was to enjoy the end of my pregnancy, but instead, I was scrutinized and constantly reminded that there could potentially be a problem with my baby. At the end of the day, remember that you are not your blood sugar levels, that you did not do anything wrong, and that you can (and should) trust your mama-bear instincts -- believe me, they’ll kick in well before you even meet your little bundle of joy.

Photography by Stylish & Hip Kids for Well Rounded NY.

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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