How to reduce the risk of Gestational diabetes during pregnancy

Getting pregnant is a memorable milestone for every parent. The prospect of giving birth to junior versions of yourself is a beautiful one and while the entire parenthood journey seems exciting, the pregnancy itself may not always go as planned. No matter how cautious you are, how regular you are with your prenatal checkups, there’s always a tiny chance of a complication happening. One such example of a pregnancy related complication is gestational diabetes.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is defined as diabetes in a pregnant woman who was previously healthy. This essentially means that your blood glucose control is more or less deranged and higher than normal. The symptoms of gestational diabetes are similar to diabetes type II, with an increase in urination and thirst.

Although some women will recover from gestational diabetes once the baby has been delivered, many will go on to develop full-fledged diabetes mellitus. The risk of getting gestational diabetes also increases in subsequent pregnancies.

Gestational diabetes typically develops in the third trimester, as does other pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia.

How Do You Know You Have Gestational Diabetes?

The symptoms of gestational diabetes include excessive fatigue, thirst, and urinary urgency. Only your doctor can make the diagnosis of gestational diabetes by ordering some blood tests. Typically, fasting blood glucose, random blood glucose levels and blood glucose levels after an oral glucose test are checked before a diagnosis can be made.

The Causes and Risk Factors of Gestational Diabetes

To this date, the exact cause of developing gestational diabetes is more or less unknown. Some women may develop it without any risk factors. Because the body undergoes a big change during pregnancy, gestational diabetes is thought to stem increased insulin resistance and poor glucose uptake by the insulin-dependent cells of the body.

The good news is that while the exact cause of gestational diabetes may not be entirely obvious, there are clinically proven ways to decrease the risk of developing it, at least to a certain extent.

Some key risk factors for developing gestational diabetes include:

How Can You Reduce You Risk of Getting Gestational Diabetes?

There is no sure-shot way of preventing gestational diabetes, but there may ways to reduce your chance of getting it.

Because being overweight is one the most important risk factors, it’s important to plan your pregnancy weight wisely. If you have not conceived yet but are planning to, it’s a good idea to get your weight to a healthy BMI range before you conceive. In fact, studies show that women who are overweight are less likely to conceive as easily as women with a healthy BMI.

Weight loss can be a difficult road to embark on; the best way to succeed is to get help and support from people around you. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist to guide you through a healthy weight loss journey. Losing weight too quickly can be dangerous and not at all recommended.

If you have a friend or family member that can accompany you through your diet and exercise routine, you should definitely consider it. Support from loved ones can keep you motivated and mentally healthy as well.

If you’re already pregnant, it’s important to adopt a healthy diet for healthy weight gain. Starving or going on fad diets can have detrimental effects on the health of your baby, so it’s best to practice a balanced diet instead. You should also get in some hours of exercise every week to aid your weight loss journey.

Eating well, exercising and keeping your weight in a healthy range are the three main preventive measures that you can take to reduce your risk of getting gestational diabetes.

If you have a strong family history or have a previous history of gestational diabetes yourself, talk to your doctor about the possible preventive and treatment options that you can get.

Is Gestational Diabetes Dangerous?

Like all other kinds of diabetes, gestational diabetes can only become problematic if poorly controlled. The best way to go about this diagnosis is to monitor your blood glucose levels as recommended by your doctor. You can invest in a home glucometer for your convenience instead of visiting a health care facility over and over again.

If your blood glucose levels are only mildly elevated, your physician may recommend making only dietary changes to cope with the gestational diabetes. Pregnant women can also indulge in certain exercises such as yoga, swimming, walking and some amount of weight training. Always consult your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise regime.

More moderate to severe cases will need formal medical treatment. You may require insulin injections to keep your blood glucose levels controlled.

Gestational diabetes, if poorly managed, can have a number of untoward consequences for both the mother and the baby. The baby could be born preterm, have excessive birth weight, or develop hypoglycemia If the mother is taking insulin injections.

Other complications that could arise with gestational diabetes include respiratory problems in the baby, and a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

For the mother, a large for date baby can result in a difficult vaginal delivery and may require a C-section instead. Women who have developed gestational diabetes may develop type 2 diabetes mellitus after they have delivered. The long term consequences of diabetes can affect almost any organ of the body which is why careful control and treatment adherence is crucial even when you’re not pregnant anymore.

Takeaway

Gestational diabetes is not an easy diagnosis to get especially when you least expect it. Although no preventive measure is fool proof, you can reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes by keeping your BMI in a healthy range, eating clean, and incorporating an appropriate amount of exercise in your daily routine.

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