Everything you need to know about diabetes during pregnancy.

Can you develop diabetes during pregnancy, even if you didn’t have same before pregnancy? This is the question that may arise in your mind and can dampen your mood. The journey to motherhood, i.e. pregnancy can have its own problem. A woman may not have diabetes before pregnancy but may develop during pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a beautiful gift of nature to women, that translates into motherhood. Being mother is a cherished experience every women desire. We at Brookfield are committed to make your journey great.

Diabetes that occur during pregnancy is called Gestational diabetes. It disappears, once the baby is born. Gestational diabetes usually occurs in the second half of the pregnancy and is quite common in India. Out of 100, around 18 women may suffer from Gestational Diabetes.

What may be the cause of Gestational diabetes?

Your body needs to work more during pregnancy as you are nurturing another life in your body. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that works on the glucose level of the body. During pregnancy the placenta produces a hormone that interferes with the body’s ability to use insulin. Hence, there is more glucose in blood than normal. Such situation causes Gestational diabetes in pregnant women.

So, either you need to reduce the glucose content in the blood or induce additional insulin to control the glucose level. By adopting some exercises and healthy food habit choices, you can control the glucose level without the need of medicines.

What are the common symptoms of Gestational diabetes?

You may often confuse the symptoms of Gestational diabetes, as normal features during pregnancy. Like feeling tired, thirsty, hungry and need to pee more often than normal, or weight gain. It is diagnosed only during routine screening tests or by checking the blood sugar levels.

Its best to get your urine and blood sugar checked regularly and more often during the second half of the pregnancy. Early diagnosis can help curb the problem, before it gets complicated.

What are the complications that can occur due to Diabetes during pregnancy?

If the diabetes is not diagnosed or left untreated it may cause serious complications. The complication can result in

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Frequent urinary infection
  3. Preeclampsia
  4. Can cause complications during delivery
  5. Can risk the life of both mother and baby

Since gestational diabetes occurs in the later stage of pregnancy, it needs to be checked immediately. The babies begun to gain weight due to it and can be around 10 lbs at the time of delivery. The large baby poses problem during delivery and may need to go for a C-section.

The extra glucose in the blood is delivered to the baby causing high blood glucose levels in the baby. The baby’s pancreas then releases more insulin to balance the blood sugar levels. The extra glucose is stored as fat making the baby big.

The baby on the other hand may suffer some complications like respiratory distress syndrome or low blood sugar levels, also known as Hyperglycaemia; after birth. The baby may also have the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later stage of life.

Who can be at the risk of Gestational diabetes?

  1. Women who are overweight, must control their weight to prevent the risk of Gestational diabetes.
  2. Women with the family history of type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing Gestational diabetes.
  3. Pregnancy after 25 years of age, may pose some risk.

How can you prevent Gestational diabetes?

Prevention is always better than cure. You can prepare yourself before you plan your pregnancy. You can start with a healthy diet and regular exercise. You can also try to shed some weight.

Even if you are diagnosed with Gestational diabetes, do not panic. With little change in lifestyle you will be able to control your blood sugar levels.

  1. You must follow a diet chart as per your weight. Carbohydrates are the main source of Glucose. However, you cannot avoid carbohydrates food, but can take complex carbohydrates food instead of simple carbohydrate food. Complex carbohydrate food is rich in fibre and take time to digest.
  2. Food like candy, juices, sweets, white bread, cakes, rice etc. must be avoided.
  3. Instead of white sugar you can take jaggery, which is also rich in iron. White flour products can be replaced by brown or wheat-based products.
  4. Use of fresh fruits and vegetable soup instead of fruit juices.
  5. Use of green leafy vegetables, instead of potatoes.
  6. Regular checking of glucose level after meals.
  7. Apart from change in dietary habits you must also adapt some exercise routine.
  8. Walking after every meal.
  9. Taking some yoga exercises under the guidance of an expert.
  10. Doing pranayama is very helpful.

All these measures can help you keep your glucose level in check. However as per the requirement tablets can be taken also.

The special pregnancy and baby care at Brookfield help to diagnose and take care of the Diabetes during pregnancy. We want you to enjoy your pregnancy and smile your way through.

By Dr T. J. Pradeep Kumar