Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs in pregnant women. The variation in blood sugar levels usually occurs in the third trimester. The sugar level returns to normal after delivery, but women suffering from gestational diabetes are more prone to type 2 diabetes in an old age.
Hereditary or genetic factors are a main reason for gestational diabetes. A family history of diabetes makes one more prone to diabetes during pregnancy and at a later stage in life. Obesity is another factor that contributes to the occurrence of gestational diabetes.
Women above the age of 30 and those who have had high birth weight pregnancy are at a higher risk of gestational diabetes. High blood pressure, increased level of amniotic fluid contributes towards the possibility of gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed in the routine blood plasma checks. Glucose Tolerance Teat or GTT is conducted to confirm the presence of diabetes.
The risks of gestational diabetes are higher birth weight for the baby and related birth anomalies, Caesarean or C section delivery due to complications, still birth or higher risk of miscarriages and increased risk of diabetes for the mother at a later stage.
Dietary modification and exercise is the advised remedy for gestational diabetes. In cases when the sugar levels do not return to normal then insulin dosage is advised. Oral medication is not preferred treatment method for diabetic women.
Diet and Exercise
A diet that is low in calories and high in nutritional content is advised for gestational diabetes. Since ample nutrition for the growth of the baby is the priority, ill-advised dieting and erratic food habits should be avoided.
A balanced diet with the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fat should be consumed. Include a lot of green leafy vegetables and fruits in your diet. They are rich in folic acid and dietary fiber and are low glycemic index foods.
Prefer complex carbohydrates like whole grain, multi grain, Ragi, oats and brown rice to refined and processed food. Poultry, beans, white of the eggs, soya and legumes should be included in the diet for protein. Fishes are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids and are low in fats; hence they are a good dietary option.
Skimmed milk and fat free milk products should be eaten to get the necessary dose of calcium. Break your meals and have small portions at constant intervals. Do not skip your meals and over eat in the next meal. Choose healthy snack option to fried, oily and junk food.
Do moderate amounts of exercise for about 20 to 30 minutes daily to keep the blood sugar levels at check. Make sure to have a meal at least 30 to 60 minutes prior to exercise to avoid low sugar or hypoglycemia.
In a gestational diabetic mother, the sugar levels need to be monitored at least 3 times a day. The insulin dosage if undertaken depends on the sugar levels. Constantly update your doctor on any variation to avoid hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Both these conditions are critical for the health of the mother and the baby. Do ultra sound checks to monitor the growth and the weight of the baby.