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How to Reduce Risk of Diabetes in Pregnancy?

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Gestational diabetes develops when you have too much sugar in your blood during pregnancy.

While it is a temporary condition, it can cause problems for you and your baby, so you must take proper care to keep gestational diabetes at bay. During mid-pregnancy, the body has to produce more insulin as hormones from the placenta make the body less responsive to it. If your body is not able to meet this extra demand, the blood sugar levels will rise, and you may develop gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes causes a spike in blood glucose levels and can cause problems for the mom and baby; this is why it is important to consult the best diabetes doctor in Delhi at Intelligent Ageing or in your city to ensure that you and your baby are safe. To reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes, awareness is the first step. In this blog, we will discuss everything about gestational diabetes- causes, diagnosis, treatment and steps to reduce the risk.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when blood sugar levels are higher than normal. It usually is diagnosed during the later stages of pregnancy, and often occurs in women who have no prior history of diabetes. Even though gestational diabetes is not a permanent condition, it is important to follow a healthy diet and exercise regime to ensure that you and your baby are healthy.

Owing to paradigm shift in lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits, women are nowadays more prone to gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes can be easily managed by adopting a healthy diet plan, doing regular physical activity and monitoring blood glucose levels. Timely management of gestational diabetes will reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery. Hence, if you notice any symptoms of the disease, it would be good to consult a diabetes specialist in Delhi or near you.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

Mostly, women with gestational diabetes show no symptoms. Pregnant women usually get diagnosed with it during routine pregnancy screening tests. Rarely, the following symptoms may occur: –

  • Feeling very thirsty and hungry
  • Having a dry mouth
  • Feeling too tired
  • Need to pee more
  • Recurring infections

If you have any of these symptoms, consult Intelligent Ageing which has the best diabetes doctors in Noida and Delhi.

Causes of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops due to the changes that occur in women during pregnancy. Hormones such as cortisol, estrogen, and human placental lactogen are synthesized in increased amounts during pregnancy, and can interfere with your body’s ability to manage blood sugar. This condition is known as insulin resistance.

Usually, your pancreas can produce enough insulin to compensate for insulin resistance. But, if your pancreas cannot increase the insulin production, your blood sugar will rise, and cause gestational diabetes.

Are You at Risk?

You are at risk of developing gestational diabetes if you: –

  • Were overweight before you got pregnant, i.e. if your body mass index (BMI) was 30 or more
  • Belong to specific ethnicities – African-American, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American
  • Have high sugar levels in blood, but not high enough to be diabetes
  • Have a family history of gestational diabetes or diabetes
  • Have had gestational diabetes before
  • Have high blood pressure or other medical complications
  • Have given birth to a large baby before weighing 4.5kg or more
  • Have given birth to a baby that was stillborn or had certain birth defects

Be proactive to consult an expert diabetes doctor in Delhi at Intelligent Ageing, if you consider yourself at risk and are planning to start a family.

Can gestational diabetes affect your baby?

If gestational diabetes is not treated effectively, blood glucose levels will remain high throughout the pregnancy, and it may result in complications such as a large baby, miscarriage and stillbirth. A large baby results in risk of injury during delivery or lead to a cesarean delivery, and it may be required that the baby be kept in special care until the glucose level stabilizes after delivery.

Complications of gestational diabetes for the mother

Gestational diabetes makes chances of a normal delivery less, and there may be a greater chance of needing a Cesarean birth (C-section), also due to large infant size. Further, it may increase the risk of preeclampsia, a maternal condition described by high blood pressure and protein in the urine. Also, women with gestational diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing type II diabetes post pregnancy.

Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in the second half of pregnancy. You will be checked for gestational diabetes between weeks 24 and 28 of your pregnancy. However, if you are at high risk, your doctor may test it sooner. Here’s how gestational diabetes is diagnosed: –

  • You will have to consumer a sugary drink which will raise your blood sugar levels.
  • An hour later, a blood test will be performed to see how your body handled the sugar.
  • If the results indicate higher than the cutoff blood sugar level (anywhere from 130 milligrams per deciliter [mg/dL] or higher), further tests will be performed.
  • Blood sugar will be measured while fasting, and a longer glucose test will be performed over a 3-hour period.

Even if your results are normal but you are at a high risk of getting gestational diabetes, you may need a follow-up test later in your pregnancy to ascertain that you are healthy. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it would be best to consult a diabetes specialist as soon as you can, and start with the treatment.

Treatment for Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes can be effectively managed through diet and exercise. You will have to pay special attention to your carbohydrate intake and your portion sizes. Also, it is important to avoid eating and drinking certain items, including alcohol, processed food items, and starches. If you happen to reside in NCR, consult a diabetes specialist at Intelligent Ageing, a diabetes clinic in Delhi, to know the right meal plan and exercise schedule.

Perform exercises like yoga, pilates, walking, swimming, weight training, etc., which are safe during pregnancy. Plus, you will also need to monitor your blood sugar levels four or more times a day, to make sure your glucose isn’t too high.

How to prevent gestational diabetes?

If the blood glucose levels are not properly controlled, the risk of complications increases. However, there’s a lot that you can do to reduce your risk of gestational diabetes.

Here are ways in which you can reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes: –

Maintain a healthy weight before pregnancy: If you are planning to start a family, start with maintaining a healthy weight. If you are overweight, it doesn’t mean that you will obviously develop gestational diabetes, but you will increase your risk of developing it. Having a body mass index (BMI) of over 30 can increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes by up to 3 times more than if you have a BMI of 25 or less. (Source) Hence, it is important to lose any extra weight before becoming pregnant, to ensure that there are no complications during pregnancy.

Follow a healthy diet plan: Another effective way of managing gestational diabetes is following a healthy diet plan. To keep your risk low, eat foods that don’t raise your blood glucose levels too much. There’s no “special diet” for gestational diabetes, but, you can use general healthy eating principles.
Avoid eating processed foods as they contain too many calories and no nutrition, and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and other natural foods. Speak to your doctor about the best diet for you as it is very important that your meals provide adequate nutrition for you and your growing baby

Stay active: You are pregnant but it doesn’t mean that you should skip exercise. It’s very important to get plenty of exercise as staying active is the key to a healthy pregnancy and normal delivery. Suitable exercises include brisk walking, muscle training, swimming, etc.

Regularly monitor blood glucose levels during pregnancy: It is important to monitor your blood glucose levels regularly to ensure that your blood sugar levels are within the normal range. Talk to your doctor, to know about the normal blood sugar levels and how you can maintain it.

Can gestational diabetes be cured?

Gestational diabetes usually becomes normal after you give birth. However, your doctor will test your blood sugar levels up to 6 to 12 weeks post-partum to ensure your blood sugar levels are back to normal as you may develop type 2 diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes can be reduced by following a healthy meal plan, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight. If right treatment is administered, women with gestational diabetes go on to deliver healthy babies.

Besides complications in pregnancy, gestational diabetes can cause type II diabetes in later life, so, it is very important to treat it the right way. Functional medicine has proved to be very effective in the treatment, management and even reversal of diabetes. Intelligent Ageing offers effective management and treatment of diabetes using the functional medicine approach.

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