Motherhood is both a wonderful and a challenging experience. The body goes through many physical and hormonally changes when it starts to nurture for two, making it a little challenging to navigate. When you start having problems breaking down sugars, this is one of the metabolic shifts women frequently experience during pregnancy. It can cause anxiety, disappointment, and confusion. Before you freak out, remember that it’s not your fault if you get it!
Furthermore, uncontrolled high blood glucose levels rather than diabetes can cause long-term complications for you and your baby, which your doctor can help you manage. This article gives you information about gestational diabetes and clarifies some of the myths that are considered when diagnosing gestational diabetes.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes happens when a pregnant woman who has no history of diabetes has difficulty regulating her glucose levels during pregnancy. It is generally an asymptomatic condition diagnosed during a routine screening with a glucose tolerance blood test.
Diabetes during pregnancy often necessitates additional care and monitoring because uncontrolled high maternal blood sugar poses a health risk factor to both mother and child. Almost half of women who have gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes. Babies born with an excess of insulin are more likely to have breathing problems and tend to develop obesity and type 2 diabetes as they grow older.
Myths and Facts about Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a lifelong condition
Diabetes during pregnancy raises a woman’s risk of developing diabetes later in life. However, gestational diabetes is reversible. After childbirth, as the body is relieved of the stress of nourishing and carrying a baby, most women’s blood sugar levels return to normal.
If you have a history of diabetes in your family, you will develop it
Heredity is indeed a risk factor for developing gestational diabetes. Many affected individuals have at least one family member with type 2 diabetes, such as a parent or sibling. A strong family history of diabetes, on the other hand, does not guarantee that you will develop gestational diabetes.
However, if you have a family history of diabetes, you may manage the situation better with precautionary dietary and lifestyle measures.
Only women who are overweight or obese are at risk
Although being overweight increases your chances of becoming diabetic while pregnant. But there’s a lot more to it. Diabetes can affect thin people because diabetes is caused by a combination of risk factors other than weight, such as family history, other diseases, eating habits, and physical activity patterns.
Tablets and insulin treatments can be harmful during pregnancy
During pregnancy, traditional blood sugar control is based on insulin, which is the gold standard, the most effective and dependable treatment of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels), thereby keeping the baby safe.
Syringes, insulin pumps, and pen-style insulin dispensers can all use to give the drug insulin. However, recent research suggests that oral hypoglycemic medications, such as metformin, are safe and acceptable alternatives with no serious safety concerns, resulting in the birth of perfectly healthy babies.
Pregnant women must monitor their blood sugar levels daily
Once diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, pregnant women should ideally self-monitor their blood glucose levels throughout their pregnancy, all day long, to ensure they are within the doctor’s recommended limits. You can accomplish this with the aid of a finger picker designed to test blood sugar levels at home using a drop of blood.
Gestational diabetes occurs in people who consume a lot of sugar
Consuming sugary foods will not increase your chances of developing gestational diabetes. When you eat, your body converts carbohydrates into glucose, which is absorbed into your bloodstream and provides energy to your body. Insulin is a pancreatic hormone that aids in the movement of sugar into cells and reduces blood sugar levels.
During pregnancy, the placenta releases hormones that aid in the baby’s growth while increasing insulin resistance, necessitating increased insulin production. To keep sugar levels stable, the pancreas must produce three times the average amount of insulin, and if this does not occur, gestational diabetes develops.
Diabetes causes the baby to grow excessively
Because blood glucose is passed directly to the baby, diabetic mothers’ babies are frequently more significant than average. The baby produces more insulin to compensate for the mother’s higher blood glucose levels. This, in turn, can lead to complications during childbirth.
However, by carefully following the doctor’s advice and maintaining reasonable sugar control – one can undoubtedly minimize excessive growth of the baby and its associated complications.
Gestational diabetes necessitates a Caesarean delivery
Most women with gestational diabetes can have a healthy pregnancy and vaginal delivery. In some cases, a Cesarean section may be necessary for various reasons that your obstetrician will help you explain and plan for.
How can you lower the risk of Gestational Diabetes?
There is no assurance when it comes to preventing gestational diabetes, but the healthier habits you can adopt before pregnancy, the better. If you’ve had gestational diabetes before, these healthy choices may reduce your chances of getting developing type 2 diabetes or getting it in future pregnancies.
Exercising before and during pregnancy can help you avoid gestational diabetes. On most days of the week, aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bicycle. Swim a few laps. Short bursts of action, such as parking further away from the store when running errands or going for a short walk, all add up.
Start your pregnancy at a healthy weight, and maintain it
If you intend to become pregnant, losing excess weight before doing so may help you have a healthier pregnancy. Concentrate on making long-term changes to your eating habits that will benefit you during pregnancy, like eating more vegetables and fruits—gaining weight while pregnant is normal and healthy.
However, gaining too much weight too quickly will increase your chances of developing gestational diabetes. Consult your doctor to determine a reasonable amount of weight gain for you.
- Consume plenty of vegetables and fruits. You should consume fresh fruit in moderation.
- Limit your fat intake to 30% or less of your daily calories, and watch your portion size.
- Consume protein at every meal. Increase your lean protein intake (e.g., tofu, chicken, fish).
- Balance the carbohydrate content of your meals. Every day, eat three balanced meals and two to three snacks.
- White and processed foods, sugary drinks, fried or fast foods, and simple, refined carbohydrates should all avoid (e.g., white rice, white bread, potatoes).
- Consume more fiber. Choose whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and 100 percent whole-grain beans.
- Select probiotic-rich foods (e.g., yogurts, kefir, pickles, artichokes, oats).
While many women develop insulin resistance and gestational diabetes without any risk factors, gestational diabetes is more common in overweight, over the age of 25, with close relatives with diabetes, or of a specific ethnicity. Furthermore, if you have had gestational diabetes in the past or had a baby who was stillborn, your risk is increased.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes are frequently absent in women. If there are symptoms, they can be minute and easily misdiagnosed as typical pregnancy side effects.
While placental hormones aid in the baby’s development, they also inhibit the action of the mother’s insulin in her body. When there is insufficient insulin, glucose levels in the blood rise to dangerously high levels, resulting in gestational diabetes.
Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can endanger both you and your child. Most women with gestational diabetes can give birth vaginally, but they are more likely to have a c-section than women who do not have diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have high blood pressure, premature delivery, and preeclampsia.
Too much glucose in the blood can lead to macrosomia, a condition in which your baby grows too large, potentially causing shoulder damage during birth. Gestational diabetes can also lead to health complications for your baby after birth, such as breathing difficulties, low blood sugar, jaundice, and an increased risk of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Although gestational diabetes usually resolves after childbirth, you (and your child) are more likely to develop diabetes later in life. (More than half of the women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes 5-10 years later.) It’s critical to get screened 6-8 weeks after your baby is born and then every year after that.