Gestational diabetes, or more technically Gestational Diabetes Mellitus(GDM), is one of the most common health problems faced by pregnant women, in the recent times . Around 10 to 15 % of all pregnancy cases report high blood sugars and are thus diagnosed with GDM. The complexity of gestational diabetes lies in the fact that if you do not address the problem on time ,it could affect the health of the fetus as well in addition to the health of the mother.
Diabetes, in simple terms, refers to a disease wherein your blood sugar level has risen above the normal optimum levels disturbing the normal functioning of your body system. Pregnancy causes many psychological metabolic changes in the human body. These changes lowers the efficacy of insulin functioning meaning,it may not be as effective in moving sugar into the cells during pregnancy. This leads to deficiency of sugar in the cells, needed for the production of energy and an abnormal build up of sugar molecules in the blood. To combat this the body produces three times more insulin than normal during pregnancy. But in the case of those with gestational diabetes, even this extra insulin is inadequate. extra insulin cannot be produced and therefore , sugar control is improper.
How to deal with gestational diabetes?
A well-curated treatment plan is important to the effective tackling of gestational diabetes. The following steps are to be kept in mind while dealing with this type of diabetes:
Keep your blood glucose levels in check
The glucose levels in your blood is prone to show fluctuations depending on the type of food you eat, when, and the quantity of food you consume. Your level of physical activity and when you do physical activity also influences blood sugar levels. Tracking your blood glucose levels helps in gaining insights on the quantity of foods that one should consume in a day and when, type of foods that affects the glucose levels in your blood, time of the day when your sugar levels are at its peak.
Eating a healthy diet
A healthy diet is all about achieving the right balance of essential nutrients from all food types. This importance of striking the right balance of essential nutrients is of paramount when it comes to people with gestational diabetes. Carbohydrates are often the center of a healthy diet for a woman with gestational diabetes.Eating carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels. A carbohydrate surplus diet will shoot up the blood glucose levels in your system. Therefore, it is important to optimize the carbohydrate content in the foods you eat. Eating meals at regular intervals and eating smaller amounts of carbohydrates will help you keep your blood sugar at a healthy level.
It is advised that women with gestational diabetes get moderate physical exercise to keep their blood sugar levels at an optimum level. Consultation with your health care provider is needed before you begin any physical exercise during pregnancy. The amount of physical activity is often arrived at after considering how active the individual was before pregnancy. More often than not, less intense exercises like slow walking or light running are recommended by health care providers.
Maintaining a healthy weight gain- to be restricted to 6 to 8 kg in pregnancies with GDM
Weekly rate of weight gain may fluctuate throughout pregnancy and a proper tracking and assessment is required to determine whether the weight gain is appropriate or not. If the weight fluctuations are considerable and go beyond the pre-determined standards it needs ti be reported to the healthcare provider your doctor for immediate action. It is advised that pregnant women must avoid all types of fried and fast foods. Salads and low-fat foods are recommended.
Take Insulin/ other medications as prescribed
Even if you follow all the above-mentioned steps, you might still need to take insulin during pregnancy to keep it under control,especially so if your blood sugar level is too high despite following proper eating habits. Following a regular eating schedule and knowing the symptoms of hypoglycemia is important when you are taking insulin during pregnancy.
Most women with gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies. However, the importance of a regulated, strictly monitored diet plan punctuated by regular exercise and weight monitoring is paramount when it comes to women with gestational diabetes.
Post delivrery care –
- blood sugar check at six weeks post delivery and recheck every year.
- shed weight and return to pre pregnancy weight withn three months
- check on childhood obesity and encourage right kind of eating and excercoise pattern for your child .
- remember that there is a possibility that the child could become diabetic in early adulthood. Keep track .