As if the physical changes, the emotional roller coaster weren’t enough! And the possibility of Gestational Diabetes is thrown into the situation. We know it can be difficult, both physically and emotionally. Plus, it can also lead to worrying about what people might think (don’t we all know those nosey relatives, Urrghh!) and handling the diagnosis.
Don’t get bummed.
Even if you are diagnosed, you can surely turn around things for yourself if you know these facts about gestational diabetes. It is easier to manage, than you think.
1. Really, What is it?
Gestational Diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman has high blood glucose levels. The cause of this remains unknown. There are, however, many factors that put you at a higher risk, like obesity, family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, a history of birthing babies over 4 kgs and a history of miscarriage or unexplained stillbirth. The condition usually develops around 21 to 25 weeks gestation.
If unchecked and not controlled, it can be dangerous for the mom and the unborn baby. Timely diagnosis however can make it easy to manage and you can have an uncomplicated pregnancy.
And remember, you aren’t alone. About 15 percent women worldwide are diagnosed with this condition.
2. Symptoms? Don’t Rely on Them
Most women have no distinct symptoms of gestational diabetes. Experiencing fatigue, increased thirst, blurred vision, increased urination and nausea can be some symptoms. But since these are also common to pregnancy in general, they go unnoticed or are passed off as normal.
3. Early Screening is The Way
Early screening, therefore, is the most common way of detection. A standard oral glucose tolerance test between 24th and 28th week, usually detects your risk. The earlier it is screened, the better! It is easier to control and manage the blood glucose levels and lessens the risk of any complications.
Your docs better be proactive at this or you make sure they are.
4. Weight Does Matter
You are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes if you have been overweight before your pregnancy or you have gained too much weight too quickly during your pregnancy. It may be wise to consult your doctor before you decide to conceive if you are obese.
Having said that, not all overweight women develop gestational diabetes. It has more to do with the way our bodies produce glucose than the body weight.
5. Diet and Exercise is Key
Don’t despair at being diagnosed, as most cases are easily controlled by a balanced diet and exercise. Mommies-to-be should pay attention to their carb, protein and fat intake.
Don’t worry about having to completely give up on your favourite carbs during or after pregnancy. You will be asked to limit your carb intake to whole grains and complex carbs, eliminating simple sugars in sweets, soft drinks and some fruits. Replacing your white bread, pasta and potatoes with whole wheat counterparts will help.
Eating regularly, as often as two hours, can help control blood sugar levels.
Also, regular exercise (at least 20 mins, thrice a week) has been shown to help control gestational diabetes.
6. You Don’t Necessarily Need Insulin
In most cases, if you follow the nutritional advice of your doctor and exercise regularly, there should be no need for you to get insulin shots.
In cases where the doctor feels the need to give insulin, it is usually in small doses. So, don’t you worry girl. Some pricks and being brave later, this too shall pass.
7. The Impact On Baby
Having gestational diabetes puts you at some risks, and also puts the tiny human growing in your womb, at some risks. High blood sugar will mean that the baby might have increased size and weight and therefore increases the risk of trauma during birth.
Babies born from gestational diabetes pregnancies are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and battle obesity later in life.
If the condition is controlled properly, it will lower these risks considerably.
8. You Don’t Have to Have a C-Section
Having gestational diabetes doesn’t automatically mean you will have a C-section. Nope! It is true that the chances are higher, especially if it isn’t carefully managed, but it is possible to have uncomplicated vaginal deliveries.
Sometimes due to larger than average birth weight, there can be difficulties delivering the baby through the pelvis. But again, with the diabetes being controlled, it is less likely to be a problem.
9. Pre-empt the Risk, Change Lifestyle Accordingly
If you are a mommy-to-be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you don’t have to live with it through your life. Yaass!
Blood sugar levels usually return to normal immediately after childbirth. But pre-empt your risks as women who develop this condition are more likely to develop Type II diabetes within 5 to 10 years of giving birth. Also, the risk of developing diabetes is higher during your next pregnancy. Sticking to a healthy, carb-conscious diet and maintaining your exercise regime will ensure you can reduce these risks.
10. Positivity Goes a Long Way
We don’t blame you if you feel angry, dis-heartened or suffer occasional bouts of ‘why me’! Or if you feel you have been robbed of an experience you so carefully planned. It is natural to be worried. Focus on making small changes, exercising moderately and maintaining a healthy mind set.
Staying positive is extremely important. And remember – It isn’t going to last forever.
Be open to your doctor and clarify any doubt that you still might have. Diabetes shouldn’t mean that it isn’t the happiest time of your life.
Go, have a happy bump-time!