Every year, doctors tell five million pregnant women in India that they have gestational diabetes, a condition that can adversely affect both mother and baby. Studies show that 13.4% of women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes in India, making it one of the most common conditions in pregnancy. Read on to learn the basics about the condition and tips for prevention.
Why does gestational diabetes occur?
The placenta, which connects baby to the mother's blood supply, also produces high levels of hormones which can impair the normal functioning of insulin in cells.
This results in an increase in blood sugar, causing a temporary diabetic condition for some mothers during pregnancy. In some women, the hormones released by the pancreas prevent the conversion of fats and carbohydrate into sugar, which in turn leads to high blood glucose levels and gestational diabetes.
Some quick tips to prevent and manage gestational diabetes include:
The first step is to drink water and keep your body hydrated. Consuming 8-10 glasses of water per day can lower blood sugar by diluting blood glucose levels. Don’t substitute water with fruit juice as juice increases blood sugar.
Use a pedometer, or any fitness tool such as your phone, to track key measures like steps taken, heart rate and distance covered to help make exercise a daily habit. Pick any activity that suits you, whether it is walking, swimming, cycling, yoga or pilates. Regular, daily exercise reduces insulin resistance and keeps blood sugar levels normal.
Consult a Dietician
Seek advice from a dietician, and create a personal diet chart. Eating healthy and balanced meals helps normalize blood sugar levels. Don’t fall for myths like eating for two or skipping meals. Instead, eat small portions every two to three hours which are high in fibre, and low in fat and sugar to meet daily calorie requirements.
Follow Doctor's Orders
Doctors sometimes prescribe medication during pregnancy to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It is wise to follow the doctor’s prescription without skipping or delaying doses in order to avoid the risk of complications that gestational diabetes may bring to both mother and baby.
The good news is that after pregnancy, gestational diabetes goes away. Six to twelve weeks after your delivery, take a glucose test and make a commitment to stay fit with a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise.
Follow these tips for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery!