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How stress affects blood glucose levels

Stress can increase your blood glucose levels. Stress can also cause you to turn to unhealthful behaviors such as overeating, eating unhealthful foods or smoking.

Managing your stress and relaxing more will help you and your baby stay as healthy as possible.

Identify sources of stress

Being pregnant, preparing for a new baby and learning to manage gestational diabetes are stressful things on their own. But you also lead a life in the real world, with all it stresses and tensions.

Stress has many sources. Name some of your main sources of stress and see if you can identify an action to reduce or eliminate complications of gestational diabetes for you and your baby.

You might find that simply learning as much as you can about gestational diabetes will relieve much of your worry.

How to reduce your stress level

  • Find opportunities to rest: sit, lie down, put your feet up.
  • Talk to friends, family and your partner about your concerns and stresses.
  • Lower your expectations of yourself. The house can be messy, the laundry can fall behind and you can be less than perfect. You're helping your baby grow and be healthy, and that's your first priority.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Ask for help in getting tasks done. Ask a friend to drive, a sister to help set up the nursery, your partner to grocery shop. If possible, hire out tasks like yard work and house cleaning during your pregnancy.
  • Know and accept your limits. Let friends and family know that for now, you have to take special care of yourself and your baby. When you need rest. excuse yourself and go rest. When you feel overwhelmed, take on less.
  • Be physically active every day. It's a great stress reliever.
  • Add relaxation to each day. Listen to your favorite music at work. Take a bubble bath. Close your eyes and do nothing except breathe deeply.
  • Schedule time for what you want to do. Book time on your own calendar for whatever gives you joy. Visit a museum. Do needlework. Talk long distance with a friend. Read a long novel. Sit in the garden.
  • Watch funny movies, read silly books, laugh with friends.
  • Cry if you want. It's a great stress reliever.
  • Remind yourself that gestational diabetes isn't forever.

If you're struggling with the emotions and stress caused by gestational diabetes and pregnancy, tell your health care provider and your diabetes educator. They can help you find ways to cope.

Related resources

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Gestational Diabetes: When You Have Diabetes During Pregnancy, third edition, ISBN 1-931876-21-6
Reviewed By: Reviewed by Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
First Published: 11/27/2006
Last Reviewed: 01/20/2014