Gestational Diabetes. There are some conditions that come up simply because you are pregnant and it can be a little scary. One of these is gestational diabetes. This is diabetes that comes about only when you are pregnant and will usually disappear once you give birth.
It may sound like an easy task but those that have experienced it will tell you that it is no walk in the park. So many changes occur within a very short time and your whole lifestyle has to change (not just because you are pregnant but because of the diabetes as well) and it can be daunting. It is however possible to live through and to deliver a healthy baby in the process.
How it happens
The placenta produces quite a number of different hormones and also acts as your baby’s blood supply. Most of the hormones produced impair insulin’s ability to act in your cells. More insulin-blocking hormones are produced as your baby develops.
This is quite normal and your pancreas should be able to produce enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in check. The problem comes in if the pancreas can’t keep up. The rise in blood sugar is not stabilized and this causes chaos for both you and your baby.
How to manage it
A proper diet is one of the biggest ways that you can manage gestational diabetes. The aim of the diet is to ensure that your blood sugar levels don’t spike too high or go too low. This means that you need to have a mixture of fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates.
Some carbohydrates release their glucose content slowly into the bloodstream (low-GI foods) such as beans, corn, apples, pears, and pasta made from durum wheat flour while others do so faster (high-GI foods) such as white rice, baked potatoes and bread. Low-GI foods help you keep your blood sugar under control and therefore you should have them in plenty. You can still have high-GI foods but mixed with low-GI foods so as to maintain a good rate of glucose release into your bloodstream. You can have potatoes with baked beans for example or white rice and lentils. Peanut butter on your toast also works well.
Start your day with a low-GI breakfast, maintain variety throughout the day while ensuring high-fibre foods are in plenty and your five portions of fruit and vegetables are spread through the day, reduce you intake of saturated fats and sugary foods and drinks and do not skip any meals.
You need to avoid sitting still or idle for long periods so try and keep active. You can walk up and down the stairs, go for a brisk walk, swim or even go cycling. Talk to your doctor to find out what kind o exercise would be good for both you and the baby.
What happens if you don’t?
It may get a little too much and the doctor prescribes some medication for you. Keeping up with regular medication, change of diet, regular exercise and regular doctor’s visits can seem like too much work for some people and they choose to just go with the flow.
This is definitely not wise because its effects are long term. Your baby runs the risk of having a high birth weight, premature birth, low blood sugar and they may have Type 2 diabetes when they grow up. You run the risk of developing preeclampsia, high blood pressure and diabetes way after you give birth.
Following your doctor’s instructions to the letter and staying in touch throughout will drastically reduce your chances of complications during and after your pregnancy. It is possible to have a healthy baby so keep up your hope and your new routine.