Gestational diabetes or or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the condition in which women without any previous history of diabetes exhibit high blood glucose level during pregnancy.
In most cases, this type of diabetes during pregnancy is diagnosed during third trimester of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the delivery of the baby.
Symptoms And Causes Of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes, which occurs in non-diabetic women during pregnancy, affects 3-6% of the pregnant women. Usually this disease does not show any particular symptoms, but will be diagnosed as part of the pre-natal visit to the doctor. If you had gestational diabetes during the first pregnancy, there are higher chances that you may get it during the second pregnancy. If diabetes runs in the family, doctor may ask you to check the blood glucose level as a precautionary step.
Some of the possible symptoms of gestational diabetes include: excessive weight gain, excessive exhaustion, increased level of hunger and thirst, irritability, blurry vision, persistent vaginal infections etc.
The main reason behind gestational diabetes during pregnancy is a particular condition in the body called ‘insulin resistance’. Due to various hormonal changes during pregnancy, most of the pregnant women will exhibit higher blood glucose level than that in the normal condition. This may not be high enough to cause gestational diabetes. But higher hormonal changes during the third trimester of pregnancy may place some women at higher risk of diabetes.
In normal Type 2 Diabetes, the main culprit is the improper production of insulin by pancreas. But in gestational diabetes, the main reason for high blood glucose level is placenta, which provides all the necessary nourishment to the baby. Hormones produced by placenta may block the usual response to insulin by mother’s body, which is called ‘insulin resistance’.
Insulin is the hormone that transforms glucose into energy. But due to insulin resistance, glucose will not be able to leave the blood stream and fails to get transformed into energy. A pregnant woman requires three times more insulin. In most cases, pancreas excretes the extra insulin to compensate for insulin resistance. However in some women, pancreas is not able to produce additional insulin, it will create a build-up of glucose in the blood causing gestational diabetes.
Diet To Keep Gestational Diabetes Under Control
Pregnant women, who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, should be well taken care of, as it causes risk to the mother and especially to the infant. Pregnant women with high blood glucose level cause the baby in womb to grow unusually large.
This overweight is mainly because of the additional insulin made by the baby’s body to cope with the inflated blood glucose levels. Because of this process, the baby gets more amount of energy than the required level to develop and grow, and hence leads to more tissue and fat. This often results in difficult delivery. Gestation diabetes increases the chance of type 2 type diabetes for both baby and mother in future. The child may suffer from low blood glucose level right after birth, and breathing problems. The condition of gestational diabetes keeps you at higher risk of having high blood pressure during pregnancy.
But the good news is that gestational diabetes can be kept under control by a well-planned diet programme. This has to be strictly followed on a daily basis. Regular exercise is also required. In rare cases, the patient needs to take insulin injections. Thus the treatment plan mainly consists of (i) a healthy meal plan, (ii) mild and adequate physical activity, and (iii) insulin (if required).
It is better to consult a dietician to prepare a meal plan to keep the blood glucose level the same as that of a normal pregnant woman. Choose a meal plan that is healthy for both the mother and the baby. Food choices, quantity and timing of food are important to combat blood glucose levels.
It Is Advisable To
1. Avoid sugar and food content with high sugar level.
2. Include complex carbohydrates food stuff in your diet; for instance, pasta, rice, grains, cereals, bread, potatoes, dried beans and peas.
3. Consume fibre-rich foods such as salads containing fruits and vegetables, sprouts etc. and whole-grain crackers, whole grain pasta, cereals, and bread.
4. Stay away from foods that contain saturated fats; for instance, fatty meats, butter, bacon, cream and whole milk cheeses.
5. Try to eat three small meals and 1-3 snacks daily. It is better than three heavy meals.
6. It is beneficial to eat a protein and carbohydrate-based snack before bedtime. This helps in preventing abnormal reduction of glucose level in the night time.
7. Limit consumption of milk since it contains lactose, a simple sugar. Try to include a calcium supplement in the meal plan.
8. Drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
9. Never skip meals, and try to have food at the same time every day.
10. Do not follow the traditional concept of ‘eating for two’. This will make you ending up in consuming double calories.
In short, a proper diet plan for gestational diabetic patient will include foods that contain reasonable levels of fat and protein. Foods that offer limited amount of carbohydrates are a must. When you are hungry at intervals, try to eat a piece of fruit, raisins or carrot sticks. See to it that your condition of gestational diabetes is not compromising nutrition for the baby. With the help of a dietician, try to figure out the amount of carbohydrates in each food.
Limiting the intake of carbohydrates is the best way to reduce blood glucose level considerably. Other factors such as maintenance of healthy weight all throughout pregnancy are very important. Don’t skip periodical visit to the doctor and check the level of glucose in blood. It is better to buy a blood glucose monitor to check the level of sugar. This will help in monitoring the effectiveness of the meal plan that you are following.
A properly crafted meal plan, along with mild exercises will help a gestational diabetic patient to keep the blood sugar level in the normal range. Keeping healthy yourself is important as it plays the most important role in safely delivering a healthy baby.
Caution: Please use Home Remedies after Proper Research and Guidance. You accept that you are following any advice at your own risk and will properly research or consult healthcare professional.