Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy. Diabetes means your blood glucose, also called blood sugar goes too high. The body uses glucose for energy. Too much glucose in your blood is not good for you or your baby. Preliminary analysis of a local study done in Singapore shows such mums may have babies with attention issues.
Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed during late pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with diabetes earlier in your pregnancy, you may have had diabetes before you became pregnant. Protecting your baby and yourself by taking action right away is key to controlling your blood glucose levels.
Causes of Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes happens when your body can’t make enough insulin during pregnancy. Insulin is a hormone made in your pancreas, an organ located behind your stomach. Insulin prevents blood glucose levels from spiking. During pregnancy, your body makes more hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain. These changes cause your body’s cells to use insulin less effectively, a condition known insulin resistance. Insulin resistance increases your body’s need for insulin. If your pancreas can’t make enough insulin, it will result in gestational diabetes.
All pregnant women are likely to have some insulin resistance during late pregnancy. However, some women have insulin resistance even before they get pregnant, usually because they are overweight. These women start pregnancy with an increased need for insulin and are more likely to have gestational diabetes.
Untreated or uncontrolled gestational diabetes can cause problems for your baby, such as
- being born with a larger than normal body—a condition called macrosomia—which can make delivery difficult and more dangerous for your baby
- having low blood glucose, also called hypoglycemia, right after birth
- having breathing problems, a condition called respiratory distress syndrome
- Your baby also might be born with jaundice. Jaundice is more common in newborns of mothers who had diabetes during their pregnancy. With jaundice, the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow.
- may develop attention problems later on, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Steps to Reduce Gestational Diabetes
Eat a variety of foods, distributing calories and carbohydrates evenly throughout the day. Include complex carbs (those with more fiber) and spread them over 1 day. It’s best to include complex carbs (those containing more fiber) and spread them out over the day. Protein helps to make you feel fuller and give you better blood sugar control. Try to pair lean protein with the carbs.
Physical activity can help you reach your blood glucose targets. It’s the right time to develop good habits for you and your baby. Be as physically active as you can. Aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Do aerobic activities, which use your large muscles to make your heart beat faster. Try brisk walking, swimming, dancing, or low-impact aerobics.
Having regular medical checkups
This would mean regular visits to your doctor. The doctor will check your blood pressure and test a sample of your urine. A holistic discussion about blood sugar levels, eating habits and weight gain will help to allay the onset of gestational diabetes.
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