How to Prevent Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy?
Gestational diabetes is the onset of high blood sugar levels during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth. It can happen at any stage of pregnancy but is more common in the second or third trimester. Gestational diabetes may occur during pregnancy due to the lack of enough insulin in the body for the uptake of glucose in the body tissues. It can also be due to insulin resistance and being overweight. Gestational diabetes can be problematic for the mother and the baby during pregnancy and even after birth. But the risk can be reduced with an early diagnosis.
What are the Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes?
At the onset of gestational diabetes, symptoms may not occur at an early stage. However, these appear after some time. These symptoms may include:
• Increased thirst
• Dry mouth
• Excessive urination
What are the Causes of Gestational Diabetes?
The exact causes of gestational diabetes are not known to us. However, it happens when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin for both the mother and the baby. During pregnancy, the body produces different types of hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain. These changes cause the body cells to use insulin less effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. In this condition, the body becomes less sensitive to insulin and hence glucose absorption in the body cells is also affected. Because insulin is the hormone that causes the uptake of glucose into cells for energy.
If a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes doesn’t mean she was diabetic before getting pregnant. And it’s also not necessary that she’ll be diabetic after it. But the chances of getting type-2 diabetes may increase after pregnancy if the dietary recommendations are not followed properly. Some other risk factors of gestational diabetes may include;
• Age above 35 years
• Family history
• Limited or no physical activity
• Previous delivery of a baby that weighed more than nine pounds (post-term birth)
• History of gestational diabetes
Effects of Gestational Diabetes on the Health of Mother and Baby
• Increased risk of diabetes later in life for both the mother and the baby
• The weight of the baby increases than usual which may lead to difficulties during the delivery and increases the likelihood of needing induced labor or a cesarean section
• Too much amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the baby) in the womb, can cause premature labor or problems at the time of delivery
• Low blood sugar levels in the baby
• Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
• Giving birth before the 37th week of pregnancy (Premature birth)
• High blood pressure during pregnancy (Pre-eclampsia)
• Loss of the baby (stillbirth) can happen but in rare cases
How to Avoid Gestational Diabetes?
Before a woman gets pregnant, she can reduce the risk of the onset of gestational diabetes through healthy weight management and adequate regular physical activity. Because being overweight is a key risk factor for developing gestational diabetes. But the women who are already pregnant, are not encouraged to lose weight because a healthy weight gain occurs during pregnancy. If someone tries to lose weight during pregnancy, it can cause serious complications for the mother and the baby as well. Instead, women should follow the preconception dietary guidelines after consulting with a registered dietitian to avoid dietary health issues during pregnancy.
Tips for Women with Gestational Diabetes
1. Healthy Foods
Consume whole-grain cereals in controlled portions, whole fruits, and leafy green vegetables. Intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive fat should be avoided in the diet.
2. Regular Exercise
Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week such as; brisk walking, or actively playing with children.
3. Regular Monitoring of Blood Sugar Levels
As the body’s need for energy during pregnancy increases, blood sugar levels may also be changed very quickly. So, it is recommended to monitor the blood glucose levels regularly and consult the doctor.
4. Get Tested for Diabetes after Pregnancy
Get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after the baby is born, and then every 1 to 3 years. For most women with gestational diabetes, diabetes goes away soon after delivery. But for some of them, it does not go away and, is converted into Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Even if diabetes does go away after the baby is born, half of all women who had gestational diabetes develop type-2 diabetes later. So, it is important for a woman who has gestational diabetes to continue to exercise and eat a healthy diet after pregnancy to prevent or delay the onset of Type-2 Diabetes.
5. Supplemental Aid
Adding Nutrifactor’s Glucofactor after consulting with a healthcare professional can help with managing blood sugar levels. It is an effective dietary supplement, containing 11 essential nutrients that support healthy glucose metabolism by reducing blood sugar levels.
It contains Garlic extract which helps in reducing blood sugar levels and maintaining cardiovascular health. It also has Biotin, Niacin, Folic acid, and Pyridoxine which help to reduce tiredness and fatigue by boosting energy production, while Ascorbic acid aids in free radical neutralization.
Consuming Folic acid and Iron supplements before conception can support the healthy metabolism of the mother and the normal growth and development of the baby. It also helps prevent the occurrence of many complications during pregnancy.