As a continuation of yesterdays post, today we shall see how gestational diabetes affects the mother if left untreated.
After diagnosis of gestational diabetes,treatment has to start immediately.Untreated gestational diabetes may cause rise in blood pressure.Also the pregnant woman may go into premature labor.In some cases a Cesarean delivery may be necessary as the baby will be large and may cause discomfort in the later stages of delivery. After Cesarean delivery, the healing time / recovery time may be prolonged. There is also a risk of miscarriage / still birth.Please note that all these occur only if the mother is not treated for gestational diabetes.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes may be one or more of the following.
- Blurred vision
- Frequent skin and vaginal infections
- Increased urination, thirst and vomiting
- Weight loss in spite of a healthy appetite.
Whether the symptoms are present or not, tests will be conducted to screen the pregnant women for gestational diabetes.Diagnostic tests for gestational diabetes may vary from country and also with the hospital. gynecologist.But here are some common tests that are done.
1.Fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels– When there is a rise in this test, the gynecologist will suggest further tests to confirm the presence of gestational diabetes.
2.Glucose challenge test – This is a screening test that is performed in the second trimester which is being carried out by many gynecologists.
3.Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) – This test is a confirmatory test.A measured amount of glucose / glucose drink is given and the blood sugar is measured at various intervals of time.
Treatment of gestational diabetes – Treatment of gestational diabetes aims at keeping the blood glucose levels to near normal [as that of a women who is pregnant but does not have gestational diabetes].
A healthy diet is very essential.Simple sugars as in adding sugar to tea/ coffee, cakes cookies,candy ice creams are to be avoided.Snacks between meals can be fruits , brown bread sandwich etc.Instead of 3 large meals, the diet must be broken down to 4-5 smaller ones.Meals should never be skipped.Include more of fiber rich foods.
The foods to be avoided and included,portion size will largely be dependent on the blood sugar level and its control with insulin.On the whole,a modified diabetic diet will be charted out so as to facilitate the required weight gain for pregnancy as well as to keep the blood sugar under control.In a nutshell it means, a diet that provides the required nutrients for pregnancy as well as one that keep the blood sugar within the normal range is best suited.
Physical activity / exercise will have to be planned .Remember that it is very important to consult your gynecologist before starting any form of exercise.
Insulin injections may be administered to some women.Most women do not need any medications.A modification in diet is enough to control the increase in blood sugar levels.
Frequent blood sugar monitoring is essential so that we can keep a tab of the blood sugar levels and also facilitates the adjustment of insulin dosage when needed.
It is necessary to monitor the baby’s development inside the womb.A non stress test is done on the mother.A machine[electronic fetal monitor] is attached to the mothers abdomen and the baby’s heart rate is measured.The heart rate increases when the baby moves and with this it is possible to find out if the baby is doing well inside.
Gestational diabetes usually goes off after delivery but if the woman does not take proper care of her health / does not make life style changes, there is an increase risk of getting Diabetes later in her life.Blood sugar is usually monitored even after the baby is born as to ascertain if the condition has reversed or further treatment has to be given.
So even after the baby is born and the blood sugar shows normal values, one must reduce excess weight.Regular exercise is a must and it has to be done after consulting a health educator / gynecologist.
In order to prevent or delay the onset of type II diabetes,a lady diagnosed with gestational diabetes after delivery must
- Maintain the desirable body weight
- Be physically active – Exercise or walk everyday
- Follow a healthy diet plan
- Monitor blood sugar at regular intervals
Earlier in this series
2008 – Garlic – Spice or Medicine?