You are twenty-eight weeks pregnant! Congratulations, you have made it to your third trimester with a picture perfect pregnancy. You go in to see your ob-gyn for your appointment and the bomb drops. You have gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy complications that women face. It is when pregnant women have high blood sugar levels during their pregnancy. It is not really known, what can cause gestational diabetes. Some experts say that overweight women have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, but there is not much evidence to support this.
What is known about gestational diabetes is that one of the only cures is to deliver the baby. After delivery, your blood sugar level will go back down to normal. The common treatment for gestational diabetes has been insulin shots. Just as if you had diabetes when you were not pregnant, you would have to take shots each day. Some women find though that by changing their diet, they are able to manage their gestational diabetes without having to give themselves a shot of insulin.
If you are looking to make dietary changes your doctor will probably refer you to a nutritionist. They will look at several factors when designing a meal plan for you. First, they will look at your weight before you got pregnant and how much you have gained since them. Next they will look at your activity level and your blood level. Then they will work with you to design an eating plan that has just the right amount of carbohydrates.
Some of the guidelines you should follow are to spread your carbs out through out the day by eating three small meals and two to four snacks. Breakfast might be a meal where you will want to eat less carbs since they can cause your blood sugar to rise quickly. Instead eat a protein filled breakfast with eggs, or even meat. Giving up sweets is one of the best things you can do if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and will make your meal plan easier to follow.
It is also important that you do not skip meals or try going on a low carb diet. This is going to cause your blood levels to fall to low levels and can leave you exhausted and lethargic. Chances are you will have to test your blood sugar levels regularly to make sure you are at a safe level. Some women are so sensitive that they can tell when their levels are low and know what steps to take to correct it.
Not taking the steps to keep your gestational diabetes under control not only puts you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes’s later in life, but you are also putting the life of your baby at risk. Babies born from moms who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes tend to be larger than those who aren’t. Most doctors will not let women go past her due date if she has gestational diabetes and a few will not even let them go as far as their due date before inducting them. Larger babies could mean more delivery complications and increase your chance of a c- section.
Gestational diabetes is so common these days that no one bats an eye if you say you have it. By eating a healthy diet and watching your sugar level, you will be able to control your blood sugar level and continue with your perfect pregnancy.
When a woman develops insulin resistance during pregnancy it is referred to as gestational diabetes. The disease acts in the same manner as when a person who is not pregnant has diabetes. In most cases, after the baby is born the diabetes goes away and a woman’s blood glucose control and insulin production return to normal.
The placenta that provides nourishment and keeps the baby alive as it grows inside the uterus also releases a hormone that effectively blocks or inhabits a woman’s insulin production from the pancreas. It can also affect the way a woman’s body uses the insulin that is produced. When there is too much sugar (glucose) in a woman’s system that is not being converted to energy it produces high blood sugar. This condition is known as hyperglycemia.
Every woman is routinely screened for gestational diabetes at her monthly doctor’s exam during pregnancy. The urine sample that the woman provides is checked for glucose (among other things). If there is glucose in the urine it is a red flag to the doctor to have the woman screened for gestational diabetes. The doctor will then send the patient to a medical lab for blood work and if the results come back positive a referral will be given to an endocrinologist (a doctor specializing in the treatment of diabetics). A treatment and management plan will be put into action for the women to follow for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Although gestational diabetes is a serious condition that affects both the mother and the developing fetus there is no cause for alarm. There are many things known about treating diabetes in pregnancy – although not as much information on why it occurs. With good control of blood sugar levels, following a proper diet, and regular exercise a mom with gestational diabetes can go on to deliver a healthy baby.