I was trying to conceive and one day it happened. We were happy, but I knew that my BMI was over 30. I knew my pregnancy wouldn’t be easy. And, my fear was confirmed. This is a true story of a mother who developed gestational diabetes symptoms during her second, difficult pregnancy, but the first one never materialized.
I want you all to know and get familiar with gestational diabetes symptoms. You must also know what it means, and why it is not good news. In terms of prevention, there are ways you can reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes – and really it’s mostly about eating sensibly and keeping yourself physically active!
What is it and What are Gestational Diabetes Symptoms?
Gestational diabetes, as the name indicates, occurs during pregnancy. The human body undergoes a lot of hormonal changes during pregnancy. One such change is gestational diabetes which happens when the hormones from the placenta block the insulin thereby preventing the body from regulating the increased level of blood sugar. This high blood sugar is known as hyperglycemia.
Why is Gestational Diabetes Harmful?
High blood sugar can cause childbirth complications. Gestational diabetes can lead to macrosomia, which is quite big for babies. And, gestational diabetes can cause early preterm delivery. A preterm baby has a high probability of developing respiratory distress syndrome. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause jaundice, obesity, hypoglycemia in babies. In some severe cases, it can lead to stillbirths or death before or shortly after delivery. So, a mother with gestational diabetes is also at a high risk of developing type II diabetes, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, miscarriage, organ failure, vision loss, neuropathy and kidney diseases.
Who is at Risk?
- Women who are above the age of 25 are more likely to show gestational diabetes symptoms.
- Women who are overweight or have a high BMI ( body mass index) of 30 or higher are more at risk. Likewise, women with a higher level of abdominal fat in the first trimester are also at an increased risk of getting gestational diabetes.
- Family history- In case, you are prediabetic or any of your family members like parents, siblings have type II diabetes then you are at a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes.
- If you have any personal history of polycystic ovary syndrome or previous pregnancy with gestational diabetes or unexplained stillbirth then you are also at higher risk of catching gestational diabetes.
What are the Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy:
Although there are not many noticeable symptoms of gestational diabetes during pregnancy, sometimes women with gestational diabetes do show some of these signs and symptoms. frequent urination in large quantities( different from that of frequent light urine during pregnancy).
- Frequent urination in large quantities (different from that of frequent light urine during pregnancy)
- Sugar in urine
- Unusual thirst
Cure of Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy:
Normally, gestational diabetes starts between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy, unlike mine, where it started from the first trimester itself. Fortunately, with the help of proper diagnosis at the right time followed by routine check-ups with gynecologists and endocrinologists, staying active by doing prenatal yoga and walking, following a disciplined lifestyle, strict healthy diet and maintaining sugar check chart I was able to pull it off with much ease.
Gladly sharing with you all the diet plan that was chalked out by my dietician Mrs. Vidhya of Cloudnine Hospital, Bangalore.
- Don’t skip meals and snacks
- Eat 3 small meals and 2 – 3 snacks at regular intervals every day
- Include a consistent amount of carbohydrate during each meal or snack
- Choose foods high in fiber such as wholegrain, bread, pasta cereals and greens
- Drink at least 8 cups of liquids every day
- Follow the following instructions for the food lists given below
Foods to Limit
- Caffeine (not > 300 mg/day)
- Meat, fish, poultry (roughly 30 grams)
- Cheese (roughly 30 grams)
- Peanut butter
- Eggs/egg substitutes
- Cheese crackers
- Low-fat salad dressing
- Plain popcorn
- White bread
- Vegetables-raw banana, sweet pumpkin, beetroot, etc.
- Fruits- peaches, pineapple, plums, pomegranate, red cherries, etc.
Foods to Avoid
- Alcoholic beverages
- Sweetener, saccharin
- Sugar, jam, marmalade, cakes, jaggery
- Sweets, desserts, ice creams
- Sweetened drinks, condensed milk
- Powdered chocolate beverages
- Deep-fried foods
- Cream, mayonnaise
- Canned fruits
- Lard, fat on meat and poultry
- Lessen the use of potatoes and beetroot
- Fruits-sapota, custard apple, mango, jackfruit
Carbohydrate Managed Diet
Add lean protein, cooked dry beans and peas to meals. Fats, along with protein and legumes, increases the satiety value of a meal and can lower the intake of carbohydrate needed. Hence add a little unsaturated fat to your menus. Eat fresh raw fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Check the glycemic index before feasting. Avoid processed and less cooked meat. Kick start your morning with a glass of water along with 1tsp of fenugreek seeds soaked overnight. Include dry fruits like dry figs, dry dates or black raisins to your diet. One egg is allowed per day, but try to avoid yolk if liver enzymes are elevated. Do include plain flax seeds in your diet.
Maintain a thorough sugar check chart. The target for your blood sugar level should be.
- Before a meal– 95 mg/dl or less
- One hour after a meal–140 mg/dl or less
- Two hours after a meal–120 mg/dl or less
Six weeks after childbirth do get your blood sugar levels checked, Continue eating healthy and breastfeed your baby as much as possible. this helps in curbing the high blood sugar level. Remember gestational diabetes is curable, Follow a strictly regimented life and you will be able to deliver a healthy baby.
Here are some strategies for surviving gestational diabetes. Happy Pregnancy!