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Combat gestational diabetes with walking

Updated: August 7, 2012 10:40AM



Q. I’m 30 pounds overweight and was planning to lose weight before getting pregnant. Well, I’m pregnant. So, am I at risk of gestational diabetes? And can I lose weight while I’m pregnant?

A. The answers are yes and no: Yes, you are at risk of gestational diabetes. And no, we do not recommend losing weight at this time — you should maintain your weight and add physical activity (walking a bit more than you now do can make a difference, plus exercise definitely reduces your risk of gestational diabetes).

Get two pedometers, so you’re never without one, and keep track of your steps, increasing what you do slowly and steadily.

And remember, you are eating for 1.1, not 2. You need to add only 10 percent more calories (the equivalent of including about 12 walnuts a day to your diet during your first and second trimesters, and an apple plus the walnuts in your third trimester).

Avoid saturated and trans fats, simple sugars and syrups, and any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole.

Today, 16 percent of pregnant women in North America develop gestational diabetes — twice as many as a few years ago.

Some docs now suggest that pregnant women should get tested for gestational diabetes at 16 weeks (the norm is 24-28 weeks).

If your glucose levels are elevated at that point, you can start early to lower them. Unchecked, they can affect your child, triggering obesity, diabetes and even behavioral problems.

Q. My family is hiking out West this month, and I’m worried about rattlesnakes. What should I do to protect us?

A. All snakes defend themselves if threatened, but not even the ornery Western diamondback rattlesnake will pursue a person just to bite.

Fortunately, most snakes are harmless. But if you’re bitten by a snake and are unsure if it’s poisonous, here’s what to do:

† Call 911 for the location of the nearest emergency room.

† You may apply a light, constricting band of cloth inches above and below the bite (but not on either side of a joint).

You don’t want to restrict blood flow; you’re aiming to reduce the amount of poison traveling to the lymph nodes.

† If possible, wash the wound with soap and water, and position it below the heart.

† Remove jewelry or footwear from the bitten extremity; the area may swell.

† If the snake is dead, bring to hospital. Carefully! Snakes can bite reflexively after they’re goners. (You could take a photo.)

King Features Syndicate



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