Pregnancy and Diabetes
Pregnant women are frequently sent to laboratories to do some glucose screening tests. Doctors recommend these tests between 24th and 28th week of pregnancy, in order to prevent and diagnose potential gestational diabetes and check glucose level in expecting moms that are already diabetics. Gestational diabetes is not so rare condition ad you might think – almost 4% of all pregnant women are estimated to develop this condition.
Normal glucose levels are about 64.8 and 104.4 mg/dL. In pregnant women, these numbers fluctuate around 70 and 130mg/dL and sometimes, after meals glucose level could rise to 180mg/dL. These are normal numbers and you shouldn’t be worried. However, if the glucose levels go higher than that, you could be facing gestational diabetes.
There are several risk factors for gestational diabetes. Overweight women, especially, those with family members that suffer from diabetes mellitus are more likely to develop gestational diabetes. Also, women with polycystic ovary syndrome and those who gave birth to a big baby (over4.5kg) are also at risk to develop this condition.
Causes of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant women experience fluctuation of glucose levels because of the hormonal changes in the body, characteristic for pregnancy. There are hormones that prevent insulin normal functioning, which is breaking down the sugar from the blood (glucose). All this happens to ensure that the baby gets enough sugar to develop. At the same time, moms’ body need more insulin but there are none and this is what causes gestational diabetes.
This condition must be treated, or it could harm both mom and unborn child. The first symptoms are tiredness, dizziness, sweating and increased hunger. It could cause preeclampsia and premature labor in pregnant women and lead to birth defects in the baby. The unborn child might have jaundice, low blood sugar or be overweight in that case.
Control Gestational Diabetes
The best way to control you blood sugar and gestational diabetes is to watch your diet, exercise regularly and if you are diabetic take your medications as it was prescribed.
Pregnant women should avoid processed food and rich sugar food. Don’t eat cakes, ice-creams, sweetened drinks or yogurts. Switch to fresh fruits and vegetables, because they are much better for your health.
Try to eat five meals every day: 3 meals and 2 snacks. Doctors also recommend eating a carbohydrate snack just before going to bed.
Regular physical activity is important for pregnant women. They should start with some light exercises for 10 minutes every day and then increase the time to 30 minutes. These shouldn’t be hard for you and if you feel uncomfortable at any time, you must stop immediately and consult your doctor.