“Gestational Diabetes” – with Casey Seiden MS, RD, CDN, DCES

Casey Seiden, MS RD DCES, joins Dr. Fox to discuss gestational diabetes. This complication differs from type 1 or type 2 diabetes in many ways, and is essentially a change in the body’s response to carbs because of hormonal changes during pregnancy. Casey and Dr. Fox discuss what patients should know and how gestational diabetes is treated.

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Show notes:

Casey Seiden, MS RD DCES, and Dr. Fox discuss gestational diabetes: what causes it, how it can be treated, and what patients need to know.

Gestational diabetes is essentially caused by the placenta. More specifically, the placenta causes hormonal changes that affect the way the body responds to insulin and increases the blood sugar. For some patients, this results in gestational diabetes. While this sounds very serious, Dr. Fox notes that “for a majority of women, gestational diabetes is more of a nuisance than a danger,” causing a lot of “busy work” for the patient. While each patient’s experience with gestational diabetes is different, and some cases may be more severe than others, there are some common treatments.

Casey explains that after it has been determined that a patient has gestational diabetes, there are several steps she takes. First, she establishes what the patients already know, which sometimes includes research they have done on their own, which may or may not be accurate. Next, she answers specific questions that the patient has to make sure they have a good understanding of the situation. Then, they will discuss a typical day’s diet, and talk about what they can and should eat moving forward. Finally, Casey and the patient can discuss stress management and sleep.

Casey and Dr. Fox also note that gestational diabetes tends to be “trial and error” for patients, with different foods affecting each patient differently, so testing is essential. Dr. Fox says that usually, “by the time they figure it out, they deliver.” Generally, Casey recommends that patients focus on eating healthy vegetables and high-quality proteins and fats and less processed carbs. It’s also helpful to pair high glycemic foods (like fruit) with proteins and fats. Typically, patients will also take insulin once a day, which they often comment “takes the stress off.”

Overall, the biggest risk to the baby is that they will grow larger before they are born or be born with low blood sugar, which Dr. Fox says many patients are relieved to hear as these complications are relatively easy to deal with. However, Dr. Fox also notes that patients with gestational diabetes have a higher risk for developing other health issues after their pregnancy, so it’s important to keep their doctors informed in the future.