Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a temporary or short-term type of diabetes in which your body is unable to produce an adequate amount of insulin to regulate sugar during pregnancy. All expectant mothers are checked to see if they have gestational diabetes in the course of their pregnancy. It is also be called carbohydrate intolerance or glucose intolerance. Why is this important?
Gestational diabetes usually disappears once the child is born. During pregnancy, the placenta releases hormones that reduce the effectiveness of the mother’s insulin, which permits her to develop diabetes. These hormones are produced within the 24th to 28 weeks of your pregnancy. However, once the baby is born, the fetus and placenta will no longer be in your body. It rids the body of the anti-insulin hormones and diabetes disappears as well.
It is not uncommon for women to enter the process of trying to get pregnant before knowing all there. Some women sometimes think that the process of having a baby is a simple one, but that is not always the case. This is because there are various changes that pregnancy brings in the life of a woman which, when not properly managed, could have overwhelming effects on both the woman and her pregnancy. Knowing about some of the changes during pregnancy is important since it helps expectant mothers prepare themselves both physically and mentally.
Gestational diabetes is first diagnosed during pregnancy. It is tremendously important for expectant mothers to keep their blood sugar levels under control because if you have gestational diabetes, your baby will be born with several defects and you are also at risk for developing type 2 diabetes after delivery. The worst case scenario with gestational diabetes is that you develop type 2 diabetes and it will remain with you after you have given birth. However, type 2 diabetes is now a condition you must live with. Slowly and inevitably it grows and gets worse over time, hence need to take control of the disease.
More so, if you have gestational diabetes while pregnant, complications may affect your baby. Your baby may be at increased risk of being born with excess weight, excessive glucose in the bloodstream that can cross the placenta, which will result in the pancreas of the baby producing extra insulin.
Tests are conducted when it is identified, since the placenta is actually producing massive volumes of hormones that may lead to insulin resistance. If the test result indicates increased volumes of blood glucose, it is necessary that more medical tests are likely to be conducted so they can verify the source of diabetes.
When there are high blood sugar levels early in your pregnancy that are before 13 weeks, it can cause birth defects. High blood sugar can also increase the risks of complications due to diabetes and miscarriage. The irony of it is that a good deal of women are not aware that they are even pregnant until their baby has been growing for 2 to 4 weeks.
What happens to the baby when you have gestational diabetes during pregnancy, is that your baby will be affected because the extra sugar in your blood feeds your baby more. You may have a more difficult delivery or need a cesarean section if your baby is very large. Gestational diabetes can also cause some problems for your baby at birth, such as jaundice also known as yellowish skin color.
Gestational diabetes increases your risk of high blood pressure, as well as preeclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy that causes high blood pressure and other signs that can threaten the lives of both mother and baby. Some expectant mothers might not even show any signs of gestational diabetes. There are others that show signs of increased thirst, more frequent urination, and higher signs of tiredness.
Just about all women with have gestational diabetes that result in no symptoms, although a few women may experience:
- Exceptional thirst.
- Recurrent urination in great amounts distinguished from also recurrent and commonly light urination of early pregnancy.
- Fatigue which is similar to, but hard to distinguish from normal pregnancy fatigue
One best way to lower your risk for gestational diabetes is to stay healthy and prepare your body for pregnancy. If you are overweight, you can take the following steps to prepare for pregnancy. You can work to improve your diet and eat healthy foods, as well as establish a regular exercise routine.
Gestational Diabetes Risk Factors
Although there is no particular thing that can be said to cause gestational diabetes, there are factors that can be said to increase the risk of a pregnant woman having this type of diabetes. One of the most common factors that is related to gestational diabetes is excessive weight gain. Women who are obese or overweight are at a larger risk of having this form of diabetes than those with normal weight.
Hereditary or family history has a significant role to play when it comes to gestational diabetes just like other types of diabetes. Expectant mothers with a family history of type 2 diabetes have a higher chance of getting gestational diabetes than those without. Women who get pregnant when they are above forty years of age also have a risk of having this form of diabetes.
The diet that should be followed when you are pregnant is important so that it can provide your body with the required nutrients it needs. If you have had a nutritious diet before your pregnancy, then it will be easier for you to meet the recommended needs without any supplements. However, iron and folate need to be considered during pregnancy.
It is essential that you eat nutritious healthy foods as they will help your long-term health and well-being. The following guidelines would be useful:
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits
- Include bread, cereals, pasta, and rice, especially choose the low Glycemic Index (GI) food groups
- Eat only moderate amounts of meat, fish, poultry, and alternatives like legumes, seeds, and nuts
- Choose the low-fat varieties when eating dairy foods.
- The amount of saturated fat in your diet should be reduced.
- Salt intake should be reduced also
- Reduce refined sugars and high starch foods
Gestation diabetes is managed through diet, exercise and in some cases insulin.
Normalize Blood Sugar Levels Before Conception:
The right time for expectant mothers to get their vitamin D levels up to normal is before they ever conceive. In women who have the polycystic ovarian syndrome, vitamin D can be part of the treatment, along with gentle weight loss of as little as 2 to 5 pounds. This normalizes the blood sugar levels and raises the ratio of estrogen to testosterone that enables ovulation and conception.
Important Facts on Gestational Diabetes and Pregnancy
Gestation diabetes is a form of diabetes, although it can increase the risks of contracting type 2 diabetes, it is usually temporary and most women usually show signs of recovery after delivery. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is very high in the first 7 years after delivery. This makes it imperative that you remember to continue eating a balanced diet. A healthy lifestyle will be helpful in reducing the chances of having diabetes after getting pregnant. When trying to get pregnant, it is also important to live a healthy lifestyle.
It is also significant to get control of gestational diabetes early in order to prevent exposing the baby to an excess of glucose, that later stores as fat. Too much glucose in the womb not only leads to a tremendously fat baby, but may lead to other hitches such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in adulthood.
To get liberated from gestational diabetes, it can possibly mean that your doctor has you taking medications for diabetes while you are pregnant so as to keep your blood sugar levels controlled. There is the possibility when having gestational diabetes, that you are still able to have a pregnancy that is normal and healthy. It is still vital to take special care of yourself in order to lessen the risk of Preeclampsia which means pregnancy-related high blood pressure.
As a pregnant woman, it is essential that you should be tested for gestational diabetes between their 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. The treatment of gestational diabetes if tested positive, should start immediately to prevent adverse effects on the mother and the baby. The treatment includes special meal plans and scheduled physical activity as well as daily blood sugar testing to keep it under control.
Type 1 diabetes is a very common childhood disease that frequently is diagnosed before they are 16 years old. There are slightly different ways to manage type 1 diabetes and it depends on the age of the person. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that you maintain and keep optimal blood glucose levels while children and teenagers are growing and developing. If they don’t meet their full growth potential under good management of diabetes, sadly you cannot go back and try again.
However, maybe one of the safest and most effective medications for gestational blood sugar problems, is Metformin which can be as useful as insulin.
There are few healthy choices for snacks and meals to take if you have gestational diabetes. They are:
- Fresh vegetables, especially ones that are steamed.
- Fresh fruit.
- Skinless chicken breasts.
- Baked fish.
- Steel-cut oatmeal topped with berries.
- Unsweetened Greek yogurt.
- Egg whites or eggs.
- Air-popped popcorn.
I hope that you’ve learned something about pregnancy and gestational diabetes. Being pregnant should be the happiest time of your life and diabetes shouldn’t get in the way. But at least now you have a heads up on what to look for and what to do. So eat healthy, stay healthy, and see your doctor frequently and good luck on the birth of your baby!
Control Your Blood Sugar and Your Weight Below!
Please forward this article to others who may need help and please share on social media below and leave any questions or comments you may have as well. I would love to interact with you. Thank you for reading and I appreciate it! Have a happy and a healthy one!