The gestational diabetes is a disease that can compromise the health of the mother and baby if not identified and treated properly.
The disease occurs when the hormones that occur during pregnancy block the work of insulin-when that happens there is an increase in blood glucose levels. This increases the chances of developing diabetes during pregnancy.
Risks of Gestational Diabetes
In the mother
According to Dr. Manjula Anagani, Obstetrics and Gynaecologist of the MaxCure Hospitals in Hyderabad, the risks to the mother are the same as that of diabetes outside of pregnancy: kidney alterations, excess sugar in the blood, dizziness, malaise, among others. A major complication of the disease can cause an excessive weight gain and even an early abortion.
In the baby
Gestational diabetes can also directly compromise the health of your child, with consequences that may even be after delivery. These are the main ones:
The baby can be born with a significantly larger than average weight, something that can eventually hinder a normal delivery.
Malformation and jaundice
It can also have malformations, mainly cardiac. Other problems that are related to gestational diabetes are pulmonary insufficiency and a higher rate of jaundice.
Maternal glucose passes through the placenta through a mechanism called “facilitated diffusion.” Therefore, if the mother has hyperglycemia, it can be transmitted to the baby.
There are also indications that the children of mothers who had diabetes during pregnancy have a higher risk of being obese in adult life and of developing diabetes or metabolic disorders.
How to identify gestational diabetes
You have to perform all the corresponding exams, this is essential to identify if you have risks of suffering from the disease. According to specialists, the woman who intends to get pregnant must have a strict control of the DMG ( gestational diabetes mellitus ). It is also important to know that the disease does not have to be dangerous when there are adequate control and treatment.
Why Gestational Diabetes Does Occurs?
During pregnancy, there are some changes in the way the body uses insulin and women naturally become more resistant to insulin in order to provide the baby with more glucose.
In some pregnant women, the body either stops responding to insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to give the glucose they require. When this happens, the sugar levels in the blood get increased. And this causes gestational diabetes.
What are the Dietary Guidelines for Gestational Diabetes?
The moment a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes, she should consult a dietician in order to get diet assessments which can lower the risk. The dietician will calculate a number of carbohydrates one requires and teaches how to count them. The dietary recommendations which can help women with gestational diabetes to maintain and control the blood sugar levels include:
Distribute your meals
Blood sugar levels can rise too much if much amount of food is taken at a time. So it is highly recommended to divide the foods into three meals and two snacks. During pregnancy, women have high nutritional needs to provide balanced nutrition for baby. Hence, pregnant women should not skip their meals.
Eat the right amount of starch
Foods that are high in starch raises the glucose levels. So it is important to watch the amount of starch in every meal. One cup of total starch per meal is the reasonable portion to maintain the glucose levels and lower the risk.
Limit fruit servings
Though having fruits is healthy, they are high in natural sugars. One with gestational diabetes can have one to three portions of fruit per day, but not all at a time. One-half cup of fruit will be fine to have at a time. But fruits that have been canned in syrup should be strictly avoided.
Breakfast is a must
The normal fluctuations in the hormone levels make it difficult to control the blood sugar levels in the morning. Having a good breakfast helps regulate the blood sugar levels throughout the morning. Porridge is one of the good options as it releases the energy slowly and evenly. Opt for a breakfast that contains both starch and protein.
One cup of milk at a time
Milk is an important source of calcium, but it is a liquid form of carbohydrate and has too much at a time can raise the blood sugar levels. So, drink one cup of milk at a time to avoid an increase in sugar levels.
Stay away from sugars & sweets
Avoiding sugar, honey or any kind of sweetened syrup is really important. Stay away from cakes, cookies or other foods that contain a high amount of carbohydrates with added sugars as they have a large amount of fat and very little of nutrition. Avoid all things which contain added sugars.
Avoid fruit juice
Juice is a concentrated source of carbohydrates and as it is a liquid, it can raise the blood sugar levels quickly. So eat fruits instead of having them in the form of juices.
Remember that physical activities are essential to control diabetes during pregnancy. It is recommended to do low impact exercises, walking is ideal!