What Two Doctors Had to Say about Moms-to-Be Living with Gestational Diabetes

By: Keri Peterson, MD and Keith T. Ayoob, Ed.D. —

With research reports of pregnant women with gestational diabetes and the possible impact their diet has on their children, the Calorie Control Council caught up with two of its advisors. Keri Peterson, MD  a New York City (NYC)-based physician in Internal Medicine and Keith Ayoob, Ed. D., Associate Clinical Professor, Pediatrics (Child Development) at the NYC-based Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

What are the biggest concerns that a mom with gestational diabetes should have when it comes to their health and the health of their baby to come?

Keri Peterson, MD: While most women with gestational diabetes deliver healthy babies, there are complications that can occur.  Your baby may grow too large due to the higher levels of glucose and insulin in the blood.  A large baby can have trouble fitting through the birth canal so a C-section may be necessary.  Also, women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have early labor leading to a preterm delivery.  Babies born early can have trouble with breathing until their lungs mature.  Having gestational diabetes can also increase the risk that you or your baby will develop diabetes down the road.

If you have developed gestational diabetes it is very important to monitor and control your blood sugar levels.  It will be necessary to eat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains in order to keep your blood sugar levels down.  You should also limit consumption of sweets and sugary drinks.

Keith Ayoob, Ed. D.: The main concern for a woman with gestational diabetes is a healthy diet and proper control of her blood glucose. The two go together, along with daily physical activity that is approved by her doctor.

How can “parent shaming” negatively impact the conversation about how they raised their child?

Keith Ayoob, Ed. D.: Parent shaming is useless at best and does nothing positive. It’s destructive criticism. If anything, it only makes the shamer feel better. A mother-to-be needs to listen to the advice of her physician and diabetes educator or registered dietitian for health advice. When it comes to how parents raise their child, if people cannot be supportive they should respect boundaries and be quiet. Raising a child is complicated and multifaceted, as is obesity. It is never due to one factor and trying to reduce it to such serves no useful purpose.

Keri Peterson, MD: In today’s world of social media, the veil of anonymity makes it easy to strike out against different parenting styles.  One woman wrote that she was told by a woman that she should learn how to discipline her child.  Another was ridiculed for letting her four-year-old use a pacifier.  The fury of responses to Alicia Silverstone feeding her child pre-chewed food is another example.

Of course, there are times when safety is an issue and speaking out to protect the child can be of benefit.  But when it comes to minor issues, these shamers often do not take into consideration the parents’ perspectives and circumstances.  The majority of parents are trying to do the best that they can to raise their children and no one should make you feel bad for that.

About Dr. Peterson
Internal Medicine

Keri Peterson, MD is a medical contributor and columnist for Women’s Health and a frequent guest on NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News and CNN. Based in New York City, Dr. Peterson has been in private practice since 1999 and holds appointments at Lenox Hill Hospital and Mount Sinai Medical Center.   With a BA from Cornell University and a Medical Degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, she completed post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and is board certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Peterson is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association, and serves as a medical advisor for the Calorie Control Council.

About Keith T. Ayoob, Ed.D.
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics 
Director, Nutrition Clinic, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Dr. Ayoob is a pediatric nutritionist and registered dietitian who works on obesity, heart health, and family dynamics and provides motivational counseling for parents and caregivers.  A frequent commentator on dietary and nutritional issues, he is a strong opponent of fad dieting and nutrition fraud and has testified before Congress about fraudulent claims about diet pills.  Dr. Ayoob serves on numerous nutrition advisory boards, and his counsel and science-based, common-sense approach to communicating nutrition is sought by both public and private organizations.  Dr. Ayoob has served on the editorial board of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and was an Academy national media spokesperson from 1995-2004, participating in over 1,000 media interviews. He currently serves on the editorial board of Childhood Obesity.  Dr. Ayoob is a scientific advisor to the Calorie Control Council.

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