Diabetes can develop during pregnancy but it can be stalled by proper management especially when it is borderline gestational diabetes.
Many women develop diabetes for the first time when they become pregnant. This is commonly known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). A blood glucose level higher than 140 mg/dL is the diagnostic criteria for establishing GDM in pregnant women. Although the condition reverses soon after giving birth, it can pose several health complications in both the mother and the newborn baby. GDM is a potential risk factor for abortion, infections, preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy, C-section birth and future development of diabetes and hypertension in the mother. In the newborn child, GDM can increase the risk of stillbirth, breathing difficulties, preterm birth, excessive birth weight, birth defects and several other complications. If you are told to have borderline gestational diabetes, Dr. Tasneem Nishah Shah, Consultant - Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Manipal Hospital Whitefield is sharing tips to manage the condition. Read all of them in this article.
Although the exact cause of borderline gestational diabetes remains unsolved, some pregnant women with specific characteristics are at a higher risk of developing the condition as compared to others. These include:
As per the reports published by the Ministry of Health, GDM is estimated to affect about 10-14.3% of all pregnant women, which is much higher compared to the Western population. The burden is expected to rise steeply in the coming years with one in every 5 pregnancies likely to have GDM. Given the complications associated with the conditions, the need of the hour is to raise awareness about the condition to enable early diagnosis and management in those at risk.
Also Read: 6 Monitoring Factors For Gestational Diabetes
Your doctor will ask you to get an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) done during the first antenatal visit and also at 24-28 weeks of pregnancy to rule out GDM.
Lifestyle plays an important role in the prevention and managing diabetes, including GDM. Your doctor will recommend you a healthy diet, regular physical exercise and keeping your weight in check to manage your blood sugar levels as the first step. Your doctor will also recommend tests to keep a track of your blood sugar. Women who fail to reach target glucose levels may require medications to prevent complications.
Your diet should be planned in a way that you get optimal nutrition for the growing baby inside you, provide you energy but at the same time does not cause blood sugar spikes. Some of the basic rules of gestational diabetes diet include:
Follow the plate method for lunch and dinner. Fill 50% of your plate with vegetables, 25% with lean protein and the rest 25% with a complex carbohydrate such as chapati, brown rice, millets, cereals, etc. Add a bowl of fruits of your choice and 1 cup of low-fat yoghurt, buttermilk or milk.
Mounting evidence suggests that daily moderate-level exercising for 30 minutes during pregnancy not only helps the mother to maintain ideal body weight but exercising reduces the risk of GDM and related risks. If you have been diagnosed with GDM, try to stay active as much as possible along with 30 minutes of exercising every day including brisk walking, swimming, yoga, etc. But it is important to work out at a moderate level and not exhaust yourself. In case you were not very active before pregnancy, you can start slowly and gradually increase your workout time as per your comfort level.
Nowadays we see many pregnant women with GDM. Close monitoring of mother and baby is very important. Majority of women who have gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. Gestational diabetes usually disappear after the baby is born but you have a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes in a future pregnancy and type 2 diabetes in later life. Controlling your levels of blood glucose during pregnancy and labor reduces the chances of complications for you and your baby.
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