Diabetes is one of the most common lifestyle diseases globally, and about 1 in 11 people suffer from it.
Consequently, we all know a bit of it, the foods to abstain from and the possible side effects. One of my close friends delivered a baby girl after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes during her second trimester.
I remember how she asked me about it as she assumed I had a medical background and a family full of diabetics to know about gestational diabetes. However, there were only a few questions I could answer, which made me realize how little we know about a condition that affects about 9.2% of all pregnancies.
My friend is a little paranoid by nature and had asked me to accompany her for her appointments with the gynaecologist and endocrinologist. The doctors were kind enough to explain to us in great detail. However, there were still a lot of queries that either we forgot to ask or remained unanswered.
I watched her struggle with lack of information, stress and myths surrounding gestational diabetes till the time of her very uneventful delivery. Not wanting other women to suffer from the same dilemma, I did some further research and suggested my friend keep a close and regular check on her blood sugar levels.
She often checked her sugar at home using One Touch and then started maintaining a strict diet chart to keep everything under control. I even decided to jot down information for quick reference to Gestational Diabetes to make sure I am fully aware and could even assist other women in my life when the need be. While the worldwide incidence of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus [GDM] is 3-4%, Indian women are four times more likely to suffer from it, all the more a reason for everyone to know about it.
Based on my research, here are the top 6 things everyone must know about gestational diabetes.
1. What is gestational diabetes, and why does it occur?
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs in pregnant women and usually goes away 4-6 weeks postpartum.
It means a woman has high glucose levels during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is thought to arise because of the hormonal and other changes in the body during pregnancy.
The placenta makes hormones that can lead to a buildup of glucose in the blood. Usually, the pancreas can produce enough insulin to handle that. If not, blood sugar levels rise and can cause gestational diabetes.
2. Risk factors for developing GDM
Certain risk factors that increase the chances of a woman getting this condition are
- Age greater than 25 is prevalent these days due to late marriages and career aspirations.
- Obesity or being overweight before getting pregnant
- A history of gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- Previous delivery of an infant with a high birth weight (over 9 pounds/4kgs)
- A parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
- A personal history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Having pre-diabetes, i.e. high blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diabetic
3. How to diagnose Gestational diabetes
It usually happens in the second half of pregnancy and is diagnosed with blood tests. Most pregnant women are tested between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, but in the presence of risk factors, the doctor may decide to try earlier. These tests include the Glucose challenge test, glucose tolerance test and HBA1c levels. However, it is essential to look out for excessive hunger, thirst and urination and report it to the doctor.
4. Risk to the baby
Women with gestational diabetes who receive proper care and monitoring typically deliver healthy babies.
However, timely diagnosis and management are necessary as there may be a harmful effect on the fetus every month GD goes unnoticed. Persistently elevated blood glucose levels throughout pregnancy can lead to -Elevated blood glucose levels in the fetus, which can cause fetal overgrowth, possibly making delivery more complicated.
- Low blood glucose immediately after birth.
- Greater risk of jaundice
- Pre-term birth and increased risk for respiratory distress
- A higher chance of stillbirth
- Greater risk of the baby becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
If diabetes is present in early pregnancy, there is an increased risk of congenital disabilities and miscarriage compared to that of mothers without diabetes.
5. Effects of GDM on mother
Improper care, irregular monitoring and poor control can lead to –
- Greater chance of needing a Cesarean birth (C-section), in part due to large infant size.
- Increased risk of preeclampsia, a maternal condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.
- Increased risk of having type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.
Most women with gestational diabetes who maintain normal blood sugar levels go on to deliver healthy babies. After the baby is born, gestational diabetes usually goes away. The risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes can be reduced by following a good nutritional plan, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight.
After infant is born, gestational diabetic issues generally goes away. Threat of establishing Type 2 Diabetic issues can be decreased by complying with a good nutritional plan, working out, as well as preserving a healthy and balanced weight.
6. Avoidance as well as monitoring.
There are no guarantees that gestational diabetes mellitus can be protected against yet the healthier habits prior to maternity, the better.
Eating healthy food which is abundant in fiber and also vitamins and reduced in fats as well as calories together with normal exercise to shed excess weight reduce the risk of creating GDM along with danger of developing Kind 2 Diabetes article pregnancy.
What occurs if gestational diabetes is diagnosed?
Medical professional will likely advise frequent checkups, especially during last 3 months of pregnancy. Close monitoring of child’s growth as well as growth with repeated ultrasounds or various other tests is a vital part of treatment strategy.
Therapy approaches include:.
- Monitoring blood sugar: Consistent surveillance to know if glucose is within regular examination array is of extremely important relevance and also first step in the direction of effective management. Individual may need to check blood sugar four to five times a day.
- Not eating blood sugar– right after waking up in the morning.
- After morning meal.
- After lunch.
- After supper.
These screening durations are very important since it allows recognizing exactly how effectively body’s hormones are regulating the metabolic rate as well as uptake of glucose.
As a side advantage, recognizing that you have to examine makes you answerable for making healthier options at each dish.
It is necessary to preserve a Gestational Diabetic issues sugar level graph to ensure glucose levels stay within a healthy recommended variety.
This might sound bothersome and difficult, but obtains much easier with method. Glucometers offered now to give blood sugar analyses are pain-free, wonderful as well as compact, as well as extremely easy to use.
Diet regulation and also portion control: Based on personal info (weight as well as elevation) Body Mass Index (BMI) is determined which is very important to identify what would certainly be a healthy and balanced weight gain for each maternity. Consuming the right sort of food in healthy and balanced parts is one of the most effective methods to regulate blood sugar level as well as protect against too much weight gain for both mum and baby. A healthy and balanced diet concentrates on foods that are high in nourishment as well as fiber and also low in fat as well as calories as well as limit very refined carbohydrates, consisting of desserts.
Workout: Normal exercise plays a substantial function in every lady’s wellness plan in the past, throughout as well as after pregnancy. Workout decreases blood sugar level by boosting sugar to move inside cells, where it can be used for energy. Workout additionally increases level of sensitivity to insulin, which means body will certainly require to produce much less insulin to use exact same quantity of sugar.
As an included benefit, routine workout such as strolling can assist soothe anxiety in addition to some typical discomforts of pregnancy, consisting of neck and back pain, muscle mass pains, swelling, bowel irregularity and also difficulty resting.
Nevertheless all workout while pregnant ought to be done only with approval of concerned doctor.
Medication: If diet plan and also workout aren’t sufficient as well as the sugar levels exceed GD test variety, a lady might need insulin injections to lower blood glucose. Nevertheless, only 10-20 percent of females with gestational diabetes need insulin to reach their blood sugar level goals. Physicians might recommend a dental blood glucose control drug, but some physicians really feel dental medicines may not be as safe and as effective as insulin shots to manage gestational diabetic issues.
Even though my friend was worried about her infant while pregnant, there is a silver lining to every dark cloud. Because of routine surveillance and rigorous diet regimen control, she did not obtain excessive weight as well as also handled ahead back to her pre-pregnancy weight quite easily.
Not being judgmental and also although it’s just a superficial convenience; when rest of life turns topsy-turvy with a little infant, it really feels good to be back to your regular look.
Additionally she swears that for a nervous individual like her it may have been hard to go week after week, relying on God without recognizing what the child was performing in there.
The additional surveillance in the house as well as health center guaranteed her that the child was doing fine, as well as assisted her relax throughout those last weeks of maternity.
Obviously, gestational diabetic issues is a severe condition that requires to be thoroughly managed; it doesn’t suggest one can not take pleasure in maternity.
It’s stressful to have a problem that can impact unborn infant’s health yet ladies need to be kind to themselves. Friends and family need to sustain and guarantee the afflicted women that it’s not their fault as well as can be taken care of with correct tracking and treatment.