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Gestational diabetes: Everything you need to know

Did you know that one in every twenty pregnancies is affected by gestational diabetes? In India 1 in every 5 women is likely to have diabetes during pregnancy(According to a TOI report). If you are pregnant and have been experiencing some of the following symptoms, you may have this condition: excessive thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, blurred vision, and fatigue. Gestational diabetes can cause a number of health complications for both mother and baby if left untreated.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about gestational diabetes: what it is, how to diagnose it, treatment options, and more!

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women. It is characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood and can lead to serious health complications for both mother and child.

It typically develops during the second or third trimester of pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born.

However, women who have gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Gestational diabetes can be treated with diet and exercise, but some women may also need medication to control their blood sugar levels.

If you have gestational diabetes, it is important to work closely with your healthcare provider to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Now we have understood the basic meaning of gestational diabetes. Let’s understand the symptoms of gestational diabetes

Signs and Symptoms of gestational diabetes

As we discussed above, gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. While gestational diabetes can occur in any pregnancy, there are certain risk factors that can make it more likely to develop, including being overweight or obese.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes can include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

Infographic

Gestational diabetes symptoms
Gestational diabetes symptoms

If gestational diabetes is not treated, it can lead to serious complications for both the mother and the child.

These complications can include premature birth, high blood pressure, and an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life.

If you are pregnant and have any of the risk factors for gestational diabetes, it is important to speak to your doctor so that you can be properly monitored.

What causes gestational diabetes?

The precise causes of gestational diabetes are unknown, it is thought to be caused by a combination of hormonal and genetic factors.

It is thought to be caused by the hormones of pregnancy, which can make the body resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body to use glucose for energy.

When the body is resistant to insulin, it can lead to high blood sugar levels.

There are several factors that can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not being physically active
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
  • Having PCOS

If you have any of these risk factors, it is important to talk to your doctor about your risks and how to best manage them.

Gestational diabetes typically develops in the second or third trimester of pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born.

However, women who have gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the causes of gestational diabetes and to talk to your doctor if you are at risk.

Health complications of gestational diabetes that may affect your baby

High blood sugar levels can develop if you don’t control your gestational diabetes properly. High blood sugar levels may result in issues for both you and your baby, such as the need for an operation to deliver (C-section). Complications that may affect your baby

If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may be at increased risk of:

  • Excessive birth weight. If your blood sugar level is higher than normal, your baby may grow too large. Very large infants who weigh 9 pounds or more are more likely to become wedged in the birth canal, suffer birth injuries, or require a C-section delivery.
  • Early (preterm) birth. The chance of labour and delivery before the due date rises if your blood sugar level is high. Or early delivery may be advised since the infant is large.
  • Serious breathing difficulties. Babies who are born early may suffer from respiratory distress syndrome, which makes breathing difficult.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Babies may have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) after birth from time to time. Severe cases of hypoglycemia can cause seizures in the infant. Feedings might be necessary if blood sugar levels are not restored quickly with an intravenous glucose solution.
  • Obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life. Babies are more prone to obesity and type 2 diabetes than adults.
  • Stillbirth. Untreated gestational diabetes can result in a baby’s death either before or soon after delivery.

How to diagnose gestational diabetes?

The majority of cases are diagnosed during the second trimester, but gestational diabetes can develop at any time during pregnancy. Many women who develop gestational diabetes have no symptoms, so it is important to get tested if you are pregnant.

There are a few different ways to diagnose gestational diabetes:

The most common method is the oral glucose tolerance test, which involves drinking a sugary drink and then having your blood sugar levels checked an hour later.

If your blood sugar levels are high, you may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Another test that can be used is the fasting plasma glucose test, which involves fasting overnight and then having your blood sugar levels checked in the morning.

If your blood sugar levels are high, you may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

You may also be asked to take a glucose tolerance test, which involves drinking a sugary drink and having your blood sugar levels checked at regular intervals over the course of two hours.

If your blood sugar levels are high, you may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Treatment for gestational diabetes

The good news is that gestational diabetes can be treated with diet and lifestyle changes.

For example, eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can help to control blood sugar levels. In some cases, medication may also be necessary.

By getting the proper treatment, women with gestational diabetes can greatly reduce their risk of developing complications during pregnancy.

Diet and exercise for gestational diabetes

There are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to diet and exercise for gestational diabetes.

First, aim to eat healthy foods such as:

  • Plenty of fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • Lean protein

Avoid sugary drinks and empty calories.

Second, get regular physical activity—at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

Walking, swimming, jogging, cycling or doing another moderate-intensity exercise is usually best.

Indian food for gestational diabetes

If you are an Indian living anywhere in the world and craving your home country’s food, we have made a list so you can enjoy your pregnancy.

Here is the list of Indian food for gestational diabetes:

  1. Whole grain- Oats, barley, millets, Quinoa etc.
  2. Green leafy vegetables- Spinach, lettuce etc.
  3. Legumes- beans, peas, lentils etc.
  4. Brown rice– Great alternative to white rice
  5. Fruits(low in sugar)- Orange, Guava, Green apple etc.
  6. Protein-rich foods- Paneer, Soya, Tofu, Lentils, Yoghurt, Dal sprout, Eggs, Chicken, Fish etc.
  7. Fat-rich foods- Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pumpkin seeds, Shia seeds, Olive oil, Avocado.

Infographic

How to prevent gestational diabetes?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to prevent gestational diabetes may vary depending on your individual risk factors.

However, some general tips for preventing gestational diabetes include:

1. Maintaining a healthy weight before and during pregnancy.

2. Exercising regularly throughout your pregnancy.

3. Eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar and processed foods, and high in fibre and whole grains.

4. Limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol.

5. Checking your blood glucose levels regularly during pregnancy, if you are at high risk for gestational diabetes.

Will gestational diabetes affect my baby? Will I get Type-2 diabetes?

Gestational diabetes will not directly affect your baby, but it can increase the likelihood of certain birth defects.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only happens during pregnancy. It occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the increased needs of pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, but it increases the risk for both mother and baby of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

There are also risks for the baby if gestational diabetes is left untreated.

These include an increased risk for premature delivery, birth defects, large birth weight, and breathing problems after delivery.

Conclusion

Gestational diabetes can be a scary diagnosis, but with early detection and treatment, most women and their babies will be fine.

If you are pregnant and have been experiencing some of the symptoms we’ve mentioned, please consult your doctor as soon as possible. They will likely do a blood sugar test to determine if you have gestational diabetes.

Treatment options include dietary changes, medication, and in some cases, insulin therapy.

Our team at BelivMe is here to support you through your pregnancy—please book an appointment today if you have any questions or concerns about gestational diabetes.

Note: This article is written under the guidance of doctors and medical experts. This is only for educational purposes and should not be taken as medical advice or treatment option. It’s always good to know about your health problems but please consult your doctor for your treatment plans.

Educating people like you has always been the core purpose of writing health-related articles, but if you find any content incorrect or if you want to give your suggestions, please write to us at [email protected]

We wish you better health!