India has a huge caseload of diabetic patients, second only to China’s. As you might already know, it is a chronic disease characterised by high glucose levels in the blood. If left unmanaged, it can cause kidney ailments, cardiovascular diseases, and even blindness. What many people associate with diabetes are type-1 and type-2. While the former is generally diagnosed during childhood or early adulthood, the latter is more common in the 40s and 50s. Both genders can suffer from it. But, do you know there is another type of diabetes, one that only affects women, pregnant women to be specific? It is called gestational diabetes, which generally goes away once the baby is born. However, if left unmanaged, it can impact both the mother and child massively. Hence, it is best if you take steps to prevent it? On how to do it, Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. Jay Chordia, Consultant, Endocrinology, Paras JK Hospital, Udaipur.
Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes
As per the international guidelines, every pregnant woman must get her blood sugar levels tested at 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. It is the primary way how women get diagnosed with gestational diabetes. They must also take notice of the diabetes-related symptoms, which include:
- If you pee frequently
- If you get thirsty often
- Women gain weight during pregnancy. However, if you do not gain ideal weight, it could be a sign of gestational diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes: Risk Factors
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Every pregnant woman must get her blood sugar levels checked during the three trimesters. However, some women, who are at a greater risk of diabetes, must take special care. The risk factors of gestational diabetes include:
- If you have polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), which can cause insulin resistance, thus, increasing your risk of diabetes.
- If someone in your family suffers from diabetes.
- If you are overweight or obese.
At-risk or not, you must get your blood sugar levels checked regularly, recommends Dr. Chordia.
How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect The Baby?
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There can be two cases of diabetes and pregnancy:
- A woman develops diabetes during pregnancy.
- A woman with diabetes gets pregnant.
In either of the cases, you must take steps to manage the disease. Otherwise, it can have severe repercussions on the baby. In the worst-case scenario, the fetus can die in the womb itself. To ensure any grim consequence, doctors recommend expecting mothers to keep a track of fetal kick count, especially towards the end of the trimester. Unmanaged diabetes can also cause fetal complications.
How To Prevent Gestational Diabetes?
Preventing gestational diabetes requires the same trick and efforts as preventing diabetes in general, i.e. by developing a healthy lifestyle. Hence:
- Eat well-balanced and nutritious foods with lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
- Exercise regularly. At least 150 minutes of workout each work is generally recommended.
- Stress has become the cause of several health issues. Its management is crucial for diabetes too. Hence, meditate, do yoga, engage in recreational activities, or opt for any healthy alternatives that help you manage stress.
- Sleeping enough is also crucial for a healthy body and sound mind. Hence, get the requisite 7-8 hours of sleep daily.
Also, if you are trying to get pregnant, minimise the risk factors. Hence, if you are obese, shed weight before conceiving. Also, take steps to manage PCOD. It will help you ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.
(With inputs from Dr. Jay Chordia, Consultant, Endocrinology, Paras JK Hospital, Udaipur)
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