In women with gestational diabetes, well controlled blood sugar helps to prevent adverse effects on both the mother and the baby. Treatment for gestational diabetes includes eating a healthy diet, regular exercises, maintaining a healthy body weight, regularly monitoring blood glucose levels and, if needed taking insulin injections. In addition go for regular antenatal check-ups and take medications as advised by your doctor. Read to know a few aspects on treatment for gestational diabetes.
Eat healthy foods such as whole grain food products (brown rice, whole grain cereals, brown bread). Prefer eating complex carbohydrates (such as present in pasta, rice, grains, bread, potatoes, dried beans and peas) and avoid sugar and foods high in sugar. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Avoid foods high in saturated fats such as fatty meats, butter, bacon, cream and whole milk cheeses. For a snack before bedtime, eat something that is protein and carbohydrate based. If needed consult a dietician or your doctor for advice regarding your diet.
Follow your doctor’s recommendations on exercise. Exercising for about 15 to 30 minutes on most days of a week are enough. Avoid strenuous activity and exercises which cause discomfort. If you were on a physical exercise program you can continue the same exercise program or sport. But be cautious to avoid injury or fall. If you are starting anew during pregnancy then consult your doctor before starting. It is important to start slowly. Vigorous walking is considered as a good physical activity for women who have not been active before pregnancy. Your doctor can advise you regarding the right exercise program for you. Follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding limitations, warning signs, and any special considerations during exercise. Physical activity and exercise have several benefits. They help to improve the utilisation of glucose, lower insulin resistance and lower blood sugar.
Weight gain is a particular concern during pregnancy and especially so in women with gestational diabetes. In women with gestational diabetes slow and steady rate of weight gain is recommended. Your weight gain gives an indication of the nutrition that is available to your baby for growth. Excessive weight gain tends to increase blood sugar values, insulin resistance and worsens the control of your diabetes. Consult your doctor or dietician for the appropriate weight gain for you in each trimester. Your doctor or dietician can recommend the appropriate weight gain for you in each trimester based on your pre-pregnancy weight.
Glucose monitoring at home is important in gestational diabetes especially as the pregnancy advances. Blood sugar monitoring daily before and after meals helps to determine if your diet and weight gain are enough to keep blood sugar levels under control or if insulin is needed to maintain your blood sugar level. You can do blood glucose monitoring with a glucose meter using a drop of your blood. Your doctor can teach you how to use the glucose meter. You may need to do the test several times in a day. Follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding blood sugar monitoring and recording.
Insulin is the only medication approved for use by pregnant women to maintain the blood sugar level in the normal range. With advance in pregnancy if your blood sugar level cannot be maintained to normal levels with diet and exercise your doctor will recommend insulin. The aim of this will be to keep your levels as normal as possible. The exact sugar reading on which insulin injections have to be started are not fixed. Your doctor will recommend insulin based on clinical examination findings and your sugar readings.
In most women with gestational diabetes the pregnancy and deliver can be uneventful if the blood sugar levels are maintained well during pregnancy. So it is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding diet, exercise, weight gain and insulin injections.
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