Diabetes is a serious ailment that affects blood glucose rates. It’s caused by hereditary predisposition or different conditions, such as obesity, pancreatic necrosis, etc. But sometimes, some pregnant females without diabetes experience elevated sugar levels. What are the symptoms & causes of the condition? What do you do if you have gestational diabetes?
Keep reading our article to find out!
Gestational Diabetes Causes
During pregnancy, a new hormone-producing structure, the placenta, appears in the woman's body. Among the substances it produces, there is a placental lactogen, a hormone that blocks the activity of insulin. It may lead to the insufficient amount of insulin for processing sugar. As a result, the ailment develops. Usually diabetes occurs at the later pregnancy stages, but its early development is also possible. Researchers haven’t determined the precise causes of the ailment, however, some of the risk factors are known:
- hereditary predisposition;
- non-white race;
- age over 25;
- personal history (a woman had the ailment during a previous pregnancy), etc.
How is Gestational Diabetes Manifested?
It’s advisable to consult your healthcare expert before pregnancy to evaluate chances of the ailment occurrence. If you’re diagnosed diabetes during pregnancy (download PDF about gestational diabetes), you need to undergo medical checkups more frequently than usual. Many female persons don’t experience noticeable symptoms of the ailment.
Others suffer from typical diabetic symptoms, such as:
- frequent urination;
- blurred vision, etc.
Elevated blood glucose rates can lead to defects (malformations) of the fetus. Its cardiac, respiratory and other vital systems may be affected. The risk of developmental malformations is extra high in the first twelve weeks of being pregnant. Moreover, additional glucose enters the child’s body that begins to intensively produce insulin.
This leads to excessive growth of the baby & childbirth complications.
Curing Gestational Diabetes
What do you do if you have gestational diabetes? Firstly, you should monitor your sugar rates. This needs to be done regularly – at least 4 times per day. The monitoring may seem uncomfortable & aggravating for you, but it’s vitally important for you & your child's health. With practice, it will be easier for you to do such a procedure. To check glucose levels, you need to use a small medical device called glucometer – puncture your finger with a bleeding pen & put the obtained blood drop on the strip in the glucometer. In most situations, the symptoms of the ailment may be eliminated by adjusting lifestyle and nutrition. But in complicated cases, oral meds and insulin injections are needed.
How to Deal with the Ailment Naturally?
- Healthy Nutrition. Take the right products in healthy proportions. The diet should provide sufficient calorie amount for pregnancy, avoiding blood glucose peaks. The basis of your nutrition should be wholegrain food, fruits & vegetables. These food products are rich in fiber that stimulates digestive tract function and slows the absorption of fats & sugar into the bloodstream. It isn’t advisable to skip meals, as this can lead to undesired fluctuation in blood sugar rates. We have indicated only general recommendations regarding the diet. Ask your healthcare expert to develop a good meal plan for you. Diet is an individual matter – a meal plan suitable for one woman may be unacceptable for another one.
- Exercising. Physical exercises help reduce sugar levels, because the body moves glucose to cells where it is processed, producing energy. In addition, exercising promotes sensitivity of cells to insulin due to which the body will produce smaller insulin amounts to carry glucose. Walking, swimming or even gardening are good choices for pregnant females. It’s important: don’t do sports that are fraught with injuries and falls, such as horseback riding, skating, skiing, etc. If you’re undergoing insulin therapy, you must know that during physical exertion, hypoglycemia (acute blood sugar decreasing) may occur, as both physical activity and insulin significantly reduce sugar level in the blood. Use the glucometer before & after your workout. Take a source of fast carbohydrates (for example, a banana) with you. It will help you to enlarge sugar levels if hypoglycemia develops.
Treating with Medications
Approximately 10%-20% of female persons having gestational diabetes need insulin drugs to normalize glucose rates. AWC healthcare professionals prescribe oral meds for treating this condition. However, not many antidiabetic medicaments have been tested for such purposes. Research of Balsells M et al. (2015) showed that metformin (Glucophage trade name) provides better effect than glyburide. Glucophage may be used simultaneously with insulin therapy or alone.
Fortunately, gestational diabetes is an ailment that, as a rule, goes away on its own. After the childbirth, the blood glucose levels of most new mothers gradually come back to normal. Insulin therapy and other methods of monitoring and treating the disease are canceled. If during the previous pregnancy you already had gestational diabetes, the likelihood of its return is very high. However, female persons can cut the risk of the ailment occurrence by maintaining normal weight & leading healthy lifestyle.
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