ACTRESS Salma Hayek admitted to Oprah Winfrey that her pregnancy, at age 40, was tough: “I gained a lot of weight. I had gestational diabetes. The pregnancy was really difficult for me.” She’s not alone.
Every year, 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the U.S. are affected by gestational diabetes, putting the woman at risk for high blood pressure during the pregnancy, a C-section delivery and full-blown diabetes down the road. The fetus is also affected, with increased risks of a large birthweight, premature birth and developing diabetes later in life.
What can you do to avoid that plight? Well, if you have obesity, high blood pressure and/or high triglycerides, a recent study published in Plos Medicine may have found a powerful solution. It seems sticking to a Mediterranean-style diet — that’s lots of nuts, extra-virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fish, and a low to moderate intake of poultry — and avoidance of sugary drinks, fast food and foods rich in animal fat can slash your risk of developing gestational diabetes by 35%. Plus, you may gain less excess weight!
If you’re at risk for gestational diabetes (have elevated blood sugar, triglycerides, obesity, or are, like Selma, older), get a glucose screening or tolerance test at week 24 or earlier (ask your doc). Want to get into the Med diet? Pick up a copy of “YOU: Having a Baby.” We have recipes developed by master chef Jim Perko, nutritionist Kristin Kirkpatrick and medical director Elizabeth Ricanati. So, eat well and prosper!