Gestational Diabetes Treatment
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy. Diabetes means your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Your body uses glucose for energy. Too much glucose in your blood is not good for you or your baby.
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.
Treating gestational diabetes can help both you and your baby stay healthy. You can protect your baby and yourself by taking action right away to control your blood glucose levels.
Pregnancy hormones can block insulin from doing its job. When this happens, glucose levels may increase in a pregnant woman's blood.
You are at greater risk for gestational diabetes if you:
- Are older than 25 when you are pregnant
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Gave birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds or had a birth defect
- Have high blood pressure
- Have too much amniotic fluid
- Have had an unexplained miscarriage or stillbirth
- Were overweight before your pregnancy
Usually there are no symptoms, or the symptoms are mild and not life threatening to the pregnant woman. The blood sugar (glucose) level usually returns to normal after delivery.
Symptoms may include:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent infections, including those of the bladder, vagina, and skin
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weight loss despite increased appetite
Due to high prevalence of GDM in India, it is necessary to closely monitor and control blood sugar when you are pregnant and in the risk category. The Diabetes in Pregnancy Study Group India (DIPSI) lays down the following guidelines to manage GDM –
- Know the implications of GDM for your baby and yourself. Learn how to monitor blood glucose yourself. It may be inconvenient to always seek professional help.
- Reduce stress and anxiety. Develop techniques to cope with denial and anxiety issues. If necessary seek professional help.
- You need to intake adequate calories and nutrients to meet the needs of pregnancy. The expected weight gain during pregnancy is 300 to 400 gm/week and total weight gain is 10 to 12 kg by term. Avoid excess weight gain and post prandial hyperglycemia (increase in blood sugar levels after meals). Your calorie requirement is 30 to 40 calorie per kilogram of your ideal body weight.
- Distribute your calorie consumption especially the breakfast. It is best if you split the usual breakfast into two equal halves and consuming the portions with a two hour gap in between.
If nutrition therapy fails to achieve normal blood glucose levels, then insulin therapy may have to be initiated. The success of the treatment for a woman with GDM depends on the glycemic control maintained with meal plan or pharmacological intervention.