On the occasion of National Safe Motherhood Day, let us know in detail about – Gestational Diabetes, Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, it’s complications and Tips for a healthy pregnancy as a diabetic.
Understanding Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant women who have never had diabetes but experience high blood sugar levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. High blood sugar from the mother causes high blood sugar in the baby. If left untreated, it can cause problems in the baby. Proactive diabetes care and diabetes management is essential in order to ensure the harmful effects of gestational diabetes mellitus do not pass on to the baby.
Gestational diabetes starts when your body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy. Without enough insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood and be changed to energy. Glucose builds up in the blood to high levels. This is called hyperglycemia.
Before we understand the gestational diabetes symptoms and how it affects your baby, let us look at the possible risk factors which lead to this health condition among pregnant women:
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
- Obesity or being overweight can increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes.
- Family history of a parent or sibling who had this type of diabetes during pregnancy increases your chance of developing it.
- Age also affects your pregnancy period as the older you are when you get pregnant, the higher your risk.
- Glucose intolerance – Being glucose intolerant or having gestational diabetes in the past makes you more likely to get it again in your next pregnancy.
- Gestational diabetes can cause the fetus to be larger than normal. Delivery of the baby may be more complicated as a result. The baby is also at risk for developing low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) immediately after birth.
Complications of Gestational Diabetes for the Mother
- Women with gestational diabetes have a greater chance of needing a Cesarean birth (C-section), in part due to large infant size.
- Gestational diabetes may increase the risk of the mother developing high blood pressure and protein in the urine.
- Women with gestational diabetes are also at increased risk of having type 2 diabetes after the pregnancy.
Regular Sugar Monitoring Is The Key
Keeping a close watch on your blood sugar levels is the key requirement for maintaining healthy readings. Use a compact glucometer like BeatO smartphone glucometer to take regular readings even when you are on the go. The BeatO glucometer syncs your readings with the BeatO app and instantly connects you to a diabetes educator.
Once you are connected to your personalized diabetes educator, you can track your blood sugar readings under expert guidance and plan the diet and lifestyle required in order to naturally bring down the glucose levels.
The app also lets you reach out to your doctor and family members under a uniform network which allows your network to track your progress and changes in readings etc.
Tips for a healthy pregnancy as a diabetic
Check out the tips for a healthy pregnancy as a diabetic:
- Get sugar under control: When thinking of getting pregnant, you need to kick bad habits (like smoking), lose weight (if you’re overweight), and take prenatal vitamins. If you have diabetes another thing you need to add is getting your blood sugar under control. If your blood sugar levels are too high or too low, you may have a tough time when trying to conceive. Women with type 2 diabetes are particularly at risk for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can also make it difficult to get pregnant.
- Consider going off oral medications: Most doctors usually suggest that pregnant women with type 2 diabetes discontinue oral medication. This is because there is not enough evidence that diabetes pills, such as metformin, are safe to take during your pregnancy. While oral medications are convenient, insulin may be a better choice to help you keep a grip on your blood sugar before and during pregnancy. You have to take insulin if you are a type 1 diabetic. Hence it is advisable to talk to your doctor about whether your current insulin regimen will meet your needs during pregnancy.
- Maintain blood sugar control: The challenge of maintaining your blood sugar will continue throughout pregnancy. That means you need to get invested in a glucometer which will help you monitor and maintain a record of your sugar patterns.
- Have a quick-carbs stock ready: If you’re insulin dependent, you need to be ready to cope with hypoglycemia, a condition that occurs when the blood sugar in your body is too low. This is caused by taking too much insulin and not eating enough to match the insulin level in your body. You can keep glucose tablets handy post discussing with your healthcare provider.
- Get active: With you pregnancy, you will be asked to get active by the end of your second semester, if no complications. Invest in some light exercise on a regular basis.