What is gestational diabetes?
Gestation is a word used to define the time between conception and giving birth.
Gestational diabetes is referred to as a high blood sugar level in pregnancy. As the name suggests it occurs only during pregnancy.
Causes of gestational diabetes
Due to hormonal changes and weight gain, insulin requirement increases during pregnancy compared to other people, which puts pressure on the pancreas to produce extra insulin.
Insulin is a hormone which is responsible for converting glucose into energy .
If the body is not able to make enough insulin, then the cell is not able to absorb glucose from the blood.
And thus it results in an increased level of sugar in the blood which leads to gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes usually disappear after delivery or in most cases within 6 month of delivery.
But in some cases, gestational diabetes persists and becomes a cause of type 2 diabetes, so you have to very careful about your blood sugar levels.
Keep monitoring on regular basis. High blood glucose levels may also affect your baby health.
Uncontrolled gestational diabetes during the first 3 months of pregnancy increases the risk of abortions.
If you have prediabetic symptoms before pregnancy try to subside it first before conception.
Your weight and unhealthy lifestyle play major role in gestational diabetes.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
It is not very easy to detect gestational diabetes by their symptoms, because these are the common symptoms every pregnant woman are dealing with it.
Maximum time women do not know about their condition, In that case just check your sugar levels while doing other tests during pregnancy.
Most gestational diabetes symptoms are similar to other diabetes.
- Glycosuria (sugar in urine).
- An unusual craving for drink.
- Increased urine frequency.
- Feel tired.
- Blurred vision.
If you never had any diabetes symptoms or diabetes history before pregnancy, You can easily get rid of gestational diabetes within 2-3 weeks of pregnancy by healthy eating and doing some exercises.
Gestational Diabetes Complications
If it’s left untreated may create serious health issues for both mother and child.
Like: Early delivery, C-section, Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level), and Risk of type 2 diabetes in later life of the child.
With child Mother also had to deal with obesity and type 2 diabetes, later in life.
But there is no need to worry if you are managing your blood sugar level, you can enjoy your pregnancy and give birth to a healthy child without taking any stress.
Diet in gestational diabetes
The nutritional requirement increases during pregnancy, because of the extra work done by the body to carry a baby.
Add more complex carbohydrates in your diet like oats, ragi (finger millet), multigrain flour, whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc.
Add fresh whole fruit in your diet instead of fruit juices or canned juices, because fruit juices do not contain fiber like whole fruit does.
Avoid foods containing a high amount of sugar like carbonated drinks, junk foods, cake, pastries, dessert, etc.
Protein requirement are increased during pregnancy also it does not elevate your blood sugar level .
Add high biological value protein to your diet like egg, skimmed milk, cheese, soy milk, yogurt, lentils. Avoid red meat.
A moderate amounts of healthy fats require like olive oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, nuts, chia seeds, etc.
Fruits and vegetables
5-6 servings of vegetables and fruits must be added to daily diet.
Fruits like banana, mango should be taken in limit because of its high sugar content. Apple, pear, guava is a good choice.
Green leafy vegetables are a good source of fiber and mineral. You can eat it raw as a salad. The fiber in it provide satiety and also helps in maintaining blood sugar level.
Cut down your sugar intake, go for a natural sweetener like fruits, dates, etc.
Dark unsweetened chocolate, pudding with fruits are some healthy choices of sweets to overcome your craving for sweets.
Dietary guidelines for gestational diabetes
Go for a qualified Dietician, they will tell you the right amount of carbohydrate, protein, fats, and other minerals you have to include in your diet.
Do not skip or cut down your daily requirement of calories because you both (baby & mother) need proper nutrition.
Don’t be starving yourself for too long, make you eat every 3 hours to maintain sugar level, it also provides satiety and prevents binge eating.
Maintain portion size, do not eat much at a time, it will raise your blood sugar level.
Prefer low glycaemic index food compare to high glycaemic index.
Do not add sugar, honey, jaggery to your food.
Diet should be rich in minerals like calcium and iron.
Limit down processed, canned foods, or avoid totally if you can. Always choose fresh foods.
Try to eat home-made fresh foods, avoid junk foods.
Go for dark unsweetened chocolate instead of white milk chocolate to subside your craving for sweets.
By maintaining a healthy balanced diet you can overcome gestational diabetes without any medication.
Test for gestational diabetes
You can test it in the first trimester, but in some cases, it shows normal at the early stages of pregnancy.
The best time to check gestational diabetes is between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.
OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test) is performed to check gestational diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes Management
You have to maintain your blood sugar level soon after you diagnose with it.
For this, you have to keep monitoring your blood sugar levels 2-3 times a day, like fasting blood sugar, postprandial ( 2 hrs after food), and random blood sugar.
This gives you the exact result of your blood sugar level and helps in maintaining it.
Gestational diabetes risk factors
- Poor physical activity.
- Family history.
- Previous pregnancy with gestational diabetes.
- Diet and exercise.
- Lower risk by managing weight.
- Keep monitoring your blood sugar levels.
- Avoid junk and high sugar foods.
- Consult your doctor and dietician.
If diet alone does not work, in that case, we require insulin doses to keep your blood sugar level in the normal range.
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