Gestational Diabetes in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a delicate state for all women. There are highs that are enjoyable and lows that are not. Particular attention must be paid to physical and mental health since both affect the fetus.

This article focuses on gestational diabetes, which  simply put, is diabetes during a pregnancy. As far as pregnancy complications go, this type of diabetes is less of a concern to the mother and more to the unborn child.

What is Gestational Diabetes

The food we eat is broken down into glucose. Our pancreas secrete a hormone called insulin which helps convert the glucose into energy. If there is a reduction in insulin in the body, excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream without being used by the cells.

This results in unusually high levels of blood sugar and can cause problems during a pregnancy. After the baby’s birth, most mothers have normal blood sugar levels. However, this is not to say that they are not at risk in future. All pregnant women are subject to a glucose screening and if they test positive, they are required to do a glucose tolerance test (GTT).

Associated Complications

Gestational diabetes often causes miscarriages and birth defects since it affects the infant during the developing stages. Expecting mothers who are diagnosed with it are susceptible to over eating to cope with the rising sugar levels.

This can increase the unborn child’s weight to proportions that will make a normal delivery impossible. In this case, a caesarean delivery would be in order. Babies born of mothers with gestational diabetes have blood sugar levels that reduce considerably after birth.

Treating Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant women with diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by changing their eating habits, taking appropriate medication and exercising. A change in diet can lower high blood sugar levels.

Doctors recommend cutting down on quick bites like candies, cakes, cookies and other sugar rich food. Food with natural sugar or fructose like fruits and carbohydrate rich foods like whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and vegetables in balanced quantities can keep expecting women feeling full and healthy without gorging on sugary snacks.

A regular walk or a swim are great ways to keep energy levels high. However, doctors do not recommend hard or long workouts so it is a good idea to consult one before beginning any routine.