During pregnancy, some women develop high blood sugar levels typically develops between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. This condition is known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) or gestational diabetes.
If you develop gestational diabetes while you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean that you had diabetes before your pregnancy or will have it afterward. But gestational diabetes does raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future, upto 50 %.
If poorly managed, it can also raise your child’s risk of developing diabetes and increase the risk of complications for you and your baby during pregnancy and delivery.
Are you at risk?
You’re at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes if you:
- are over the age of 35
- have high blood pressure
- have a family history of diabetes
- were overweight before you became pregnant
- gain a larger than normal amount of weight while you’re pregnant
- are expecting multiple babies
- have previously given birth to a baby weighing ore than 3.5 kg.
- have had gestational diabetes in the past
- have had an unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth
- have been on glucocorticoids
- have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), acanthosis nigricans, or other conditions that are associated with insulin resistance
- have African, Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic ancestry
If you have no known history of diabetes and normal blood sugar levels at the beginning of your pregnancy, we would likely screen you for gestational diabetes when you’re 24 to 28 weeks pregnant.
What should I eat if I have gestational diabetes?
A balanced diet is key to properly managing gestational diabetes. In particular, women with gestational diabetes should pay special attention to their carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake. Healthy carbohydrate choices include:
- whole grains
- brown rice
- beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes
- starchy vegetables
- low-sugar fruits
Pregnant women should eat two to three servings of protein each day. Good sources of protein include lean meats and poultry, fish, and tofu.
Can gestational diabetes be prevented?
It’s not possible to prevent gestational diabetes entirely. However, adopting healthy habits can reduce your chances of developing the condition. If you’re pregnant and have one of the risk factors for gestational diabetes, try to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Even light activity, such as walking, may be beneficial.
If you’re planning to become pregnant in the near future and you’re overweight, one of the best things you can do is work with your doctor to lose weight. Even losing a small amount of weight can help you reduce your risk of gestational diabetes.
In gestational diabetes your treatment plan will depend on your blood sugar levels throughout the day. Usha may advise you to test your blood sugar before and after meals, and manage your condition by eating healthy and regular exercising. If the diet and exercise is not sufficient to normalise sugar, then oral tablets ( metformin ) are started. We may also recommend insulin injections until you give birth. Usha will also tell you what to do if your blood sugar levels fall too low or consistently too high than they should be. Because Usha Cares for U ...