Something unexpected when expecting

Navigating pregnancy can be tricky and complicated. For expectant mother and Dover resident Amber Hoffman, finding the right foods to eat during pregnancy seemed easy enough. Steering clear of taboo foods like sushi, soft cheeses, and deli meats, Hoffman began incorporating lots of fruits and vegetables into her diet. When Hoffman learned she had gestational diabetes, she turned to Bayhealth’s Diabetes Wellness Center for education, support, and an eating plan.

Women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy when they have abnormally high levels of sugar in their blood. In most cases, the women didn’t have diabetes before pregnancy and it usually goes away after birth. Bayhealth offers a two-hour Gestational Diabetes Class with a diabetes educator and dietitian to help ease anxiety around the diagnosis and form a treatment plan.

Bayhealth Diabetes Educator Elizabeth “Betsy” Hughey coordinates the program and explains that women learn about eating healthy, staying physically active, monitoring their blood sugars, taking prescribed medication as needed correctly, and getting the appropriate follow-up care.

After her diagnosis, Hoffman joined the program, where she learned that fruits and vegetables break down into sugar. “I knew there was a risk for diabetes during pregnancy,” said Hoffman. “I thought if I ate healthy, it wouldn’t be a problem.”

Hughey showed Hoffman how important it is to distribute calories and carbohydrates evenly in her diet. And while fruits and vegetables are healthy choices, they have to be eaten in moderation. The two worked together to develop a meal plan and daily exercises Hoffman could do at home. “The diagnosis upset me at first,” said Hoffman. “I felt so much better about it after the class. I stuck with the low-carb diet and exercise plan from the team.”

Monitoring her blood sugar levels intimidated Hoffman at first, but with guidance and support from Hughey, she became comfortable. “Betsy sat with me after class and really took her time with me. She made sure all of my questions were answered,” said Hoffman. “She showed me how to prick my finger and the most painless way to do it. She even gave me her number so I could call her any time I had a question.”

Hoffman delivered a healthy baby girl in July and credits Hughey for seeing her through the diagnosis of gestational diabetes. “I’m so thankful for Betsy.”

Bayhealth’s Gestational Diabetes Class is offered weekly on Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. in Women’s Services on the 6th floor at Kent General. Participants are welcome to bring a support person. A physician or nurse practitioner referral is required.

Call the Education Department at 302-744-7135 to learn more about Bayhealth’s Gestational Diabetes Class.