Gestational diabetes and pregnancy

Written by
Fuel Your Life

There are many challenges that come with pregnancy, but one of those that is most challenging and relatively common affecting 12-14% of Australian women, is gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Chances are, if you’re here reading this blog, you might be awaiting or even have experienced the infamous oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). This test is the ultimate decider in determining whether you are diagnosed with GDM or not. Many mothers can dread this test, not only due to the fact you have to drink a very sweet drink after a night’s fast but also what those results may show. But fear no more, today we’re going to delve into what GDM is, who gets it, how it can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, and how a dietitian can help you successfully manage GDM.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

GDM is a form of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy. This means there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. Excess glucose in the blood can have negative effects on both you and your baby. But the good news is successfully managing your GDM can increase your chances of having a normal delivery with no effects on your baby’s long-term health.

The Development of GDM

The food you consume is broken down by the gut into proteins, fats and carbohydrates, along with many vitamins and minerals. The carbohydrate component of these foods is made up of many small parts called glucose, and this is what we refer to as sugar. Glucose is our bodies main source of fuel, powering us with the energy to accomplish every day activates involving muscle contractions and brain function. When pregnant, glucose becomes even more important because it is needed to fuel the growth and development of your baby.

Carbohydrates are found in nearly all foods. However, carbohydrate-rich foods are typically sweet or starchy foods (see table below). During digestion, the glucose in carbohydrates is released into the blood, contributing to our overall blood glucose level. From here, this glucose needs to be transported around the body to our muscles, where it can be used for energy. The hormone insulin is responsible for moving glucose from the blood into the muscles and other organs within the body, and as glucose leaves the blood, that is how the blood glucose levels start to decrease.

Carbohydrates

The below are some of the most common sources of carbohydrates in our diet but don’t forget that all of those sweet and savoury treats also contain a LOT of extra carbohydrate as well as fats and salt.

Cereals and GrainsFruit
(fresh, canned, dried, juice)
Starchy Vegetables and LegumesDairy (but not cheese)
Flours,
Rice, Pasta
Crackers,
Bread, wraps and tortillas
Cereals,
Oats
Bananas
Apples,
Pears,
Pineapple, Watermelon
Juices (fresh or pre-packed)
Potatoes,
sweet potato,
Legumes,
Lentils,
Corn
Milk (fresh,
long life,
powdered, flavoured)
Yoghurt
Custard
Ice cream

Insulin Resistance

Unique hormonal changes during pregnancy naturally reduce the effectiveness of insulin, meaning pregnant mothers usually require 2 to 3 times more insulin than they normally would. When the effectiveness of insulin is reduced, glucose stays in the blood and cannot be transported to the muscles. This is referred to as insulin resistance. This is what is happening to mothers with GDM. Their bodies simply cannot keep up with the insulin demands and does not produce enough insulin to effectively overcome the insulin resistance. Blood glucose levels will continue to rise to unsafe levels as more food is consumed. Some women in particular struggle to produce the extra insulin and have an increased risk of developing GDM, these include those:

  • Aged over 35 years
  • Above the healthy weight range
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or Asian decent
  • Having a family history of type 2 diabetes or high blood glucose levels
  • Using anti-psychotic or steroidal medications
  • Already had GDM or a large baby before

If you fit into any of the categories above, you could have GDM without even knowing it. Many mothers do not report any symptoms. But those who do typically notice increased thirst, increased hunger or food consumption and more frequent trips to the toilet. All of which are typical symptoms in someone with diabetes.

The Effects on Pregnancy

When blood glucose levels are uncontrolled and remain too high for too long, the glucose needs to find somewhere to go. The easiest path for this glucose is straight to your baby. Extra glucose means the baby will be getting too much fuel, resulting in too rapid growth. Bigger babies can significantly increase the chances of early delivery, with complications during birth. As a result, C-sections are very common to assist in the delivery.

Testing for Gestational Diabetes

GDM is diagnosed using the OGTT as mentioned above, and although it is challenging and requires a lot of patience it is essential to ensure the health of you and your baby. This test usually occurs around 24-28 weeks into the pregnancy, where you drink a sweet drink after an overnight fast. The pathologist will then test your blood sugar levels at certain time points. If too much glucose remains in the blood, you will be diagnosed with GDM.

Managing Gestational Diabetes

GDM can be successfully managed by monitoring blood glucose levels, and by adopting a controlled eating pattern. Upon diagnosis, you will be referred to a dietitian and diabetes educator.

If you are looking or an Accredited Practising Dietitian the team at Fuel Your Life can assist you and your GP can refer you straight to them. Fuel Your Life dietitians will always provide you with advice that is tailored to your lifestyle.

The bottom line is that GDM is a condition that can be successfully managed with a proactive approach. Fuel Your Life dietitians are here to help, so get in touch today.

Can I get a rebate for seeing a dietitian?

To find out how you might be able to claim the costs of seeing a dietitian with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.

Care To Compare can help you find a health insurance policy that covers you for what you need. When you compare and buy a policy through Care To Compare, 100% of profits are donated to charities like the Australasian Birth Trauma Association who provide a peer-led community dedicated to helping Australian and New Zealanders prevent and heal from birth-related trauma.

Weight training for weight loss

Written by Jared Adams
Bushido Strength Hub

“Weight or fat loss is one of the most common reasons that motivates people to seek the help of a personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach. By working together we can help find a solution to achieve your goals that fits with your lifestyle “

Jared Adams, Bushido Strength Hub

Weight training or resistance training have some key benefits over a more traditional approach to weight loss with just basic activities like running, cycling and swimming.

Some might consider using the ‘energy in vs energy out’ approach where the goal is to expend more calories than you consume.

With an entry level fitness tracker and a basic understanding of calories you could monitor daily energy intake and energy out. This approach alone can make you feel stuck with a constant cycle of monitoring.

While you can modify the intensity of physical activity, monitoring energy in and out alone create times when you are running 7 days each week to make up for those extra treats during the week.

What if there was a more sustainable way of keeping the weight off? Or something that you could use in conjunction with this approach?

The great news – there is an alternative.

By training with resistance or weights you can develop more muscle. The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR) – that’s how many calories your body requires to function at rest.

Your resting metabolic rate accounts for around 60-75% of total energy expenditure and that’s before you add any weight training sessions.

This approach can provide a more sustainable way to help you keep your weight down long term.

As you grow muscle your body needs more calories just to hit the baseline of 60-75%.

Following weight training your RMR is increased for up to 8 hours to help with nutrient uptake and restoration of the muscles used during training.

So what’s the perfect exercise plan?

Everyone will have different needs and abilities that should be considered in developing an exercise plan.

As a guide, 10 to 12 repetitions seems to be the golden range. You should aim to progress the intensity of these movements each week with increased weight, repetitions or total sets to ensure a progressive overload. This gives your muscles what they need to continue to grow and in turn, store more energy.

This is not to say this is the best way to approach your weight loss, simply that weight training can very well be complimented with a traditional approach for additional cardiovascular health or simply some active recovery 

Need help to create your perfect exercise plan?

If you’d like to work with Jared or the Bushido Strength Hub team connect with them on Instagram or Facebook.

Did you know that some health funds offer rebates for personal training to support healthy lifestyles?

To find out how you might be able to claim the costs of personal training or gym memberships with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.

What’s the difference between a dietitian and nutritionist?

Written by
Fuel Your Life

“Dietitians take the guess work out of nutrition. They can not only speed up your progress, but help you achieve things you didn’t think possible.”

Tyson Tripcony, Fuel Your Life

We’re often asked about the difference between dietitians and nutritionists. We get that it can be confusing.

Did you know? A dietitian can work as a nutritionist but a nutritionist can’t call themselves a dietitian without extra qualifications?

Education

Dietitian’s are accredited after completing 4-5 years education at university.

Nutritionists may have limited education or no university qualifications. There is no current regulation over the industry.

Registration

Dietitians must be registered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency before they can consult in private practice or clinical settings.

Nutritionists can register with the Nutrition Society of Australia and/or the Dietitians Association of Australia. There is no legal requirement to register with either.

Work

Dietitians can provide medical nutrition therapy to their clients and can also work as a nutritionist.

Nutritionists cannot provide medical nutrition therapy nor can they work as a dietitian without extra qualifications.

Rebates

Dietitians are recognised as the only food and nutrition specialist by Medicare, private health insurance funds, NDIS and other organisations.

Nutritionists are not recognised by Medicare and cannot offer rebates through private health insurance funds.

If you’d like to work with a dietitian or nutritionist to help achieve your goals please get in touch with the Fuel Your Life team.

Can I get a rebate for seeing a dietitian?

To find out how you might be able to claim the costs of seeing a dietitian with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.

5 things to consider when choosing a personal trainer

Written by Jared Adams
Bushido Strength Hub

“Qualifications alone don’t always equal results. Look for a coach that either walks the walk, is able to produce consistent results or better yet, both. This is a good sign they are able to overcome the obstacles you will almost definitely face on the way to your goals.”

Jared Adams, Bushido Strength Hub

  1. Does the personal trainer or coach’s style of training suit you?

I’ve had clients that don’t enjoy my methodology. It’s a recipe for friction down the track and mostly due to a lack of understanding or explanation about your plan. When you haven’t bought into your own plan you’re unlikely to see it through.

This doesn’t mean firing your coach because they prescribe you less carbohydrates or recommend cutting back on energy drinks.

Your plan needs to be something you can not only execute but be excited about. 

  1. Are you prepared to share your real goals or motivations?

Your goals may require more than just a piece of paper with a generic exercise selection and nutrition plan. If this were the case you could employ Google for free. As a personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach it helps to understand the whole picture.

By sharing your goals and motivations your trainer or coach can use their experience to develop the right training and nutrition plan that works for you and your lifestyle.

  1. Are you paying for quality or quantity?

The professional fees you pay a personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach isn’t directly linked to the value they provide. Fitness professionals set their own fees and are often in-line with their qualifications and experience.

Consider why it is you need a personal trainer. Is it to supervise your movements or to coach you to your goals?

With knowledge and experience your personal trainer or coach can help spend less time on problem solving to help you implement proven and established strategies to help you reach your goals sooner.

  1. What will your personal trainer or coach teach you?

The goal of a coach is to educate. You should be able to ask questions and either have those questions answered or be supported to get the answers from a professional with that expertise. Your role as the client should be to have an open mind to information that might sit outside your belief system.

Let’s assume you’ve considered the above points and found yourself a personal trainer or coach of interest. Have you asked yourself why you’re seeking them out in the first place? Is it because what you’ve done in the past hasn’t given you the result you were after?

Stepping outside your comfort zone with your personal trainer or coach might just be the formula you needed to reach your goals.

  1. How will your personal trainer or coach measure your results?

Look for a personal trainer or coach that measures your results in more ways than one. Weight loss might be the initial reason you want a personal trainer or coach however weight loss is the result you get when you accurately and consistently measure all variables of your fitness journey.

Your personal trainer or coach should be helping you with this. In doing so, they are able to predict and plan for weeks in advance rather than guess when that next birthday or wedding is. These measurements should include any or all of the following:

  • exercise plan 
  • nutritional guidance and fluid intake
  • Supplementation
  • sleep tracking
  • scale weight
  • body fat assessments using measures like skinfold tests, bio-electrical impedance analysis or bioimpedance analysis (BIA), photos, etc)
  • recovery using measure like heart rate variability (HRV) and resting heart rate (RHR).

If you’d like to work with Jared or the Bushido Strength Hub team connect with them on Instagram or Facebook.

Can I claim personal training with my health insurance?

To find out how you might be able to claim the costs of personal training or gym memberships with your health insurance speak with a member of the Care To Compare team on 1300 76 76 00.