Anita was excited to meet her Gynecologist upon completion of the second trimester of her pregnancy. But, her doctor seemed anxious on seeing the investigations. Her blood diagnostics indicated HbA1C of 10.3 %. Anita was informed about Gestational Diabetes which is possible in pregnancy even if there is no previous history of diabetes.
How is Gestational Diabetes confirmed?
Gestational Diabetes is confirmed with an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test with a 75-g glucose load. Sugar levels are checked fasting (pre glucose load) and after an hour and then 2 hours of glucose load to confirm diabetes in pregnancy. Fasting blood sugar of ≥92 mg/dL, 1-hour sugar ≥180 mg/dL and 2 hours sugar ≥153 mg/dL confirms gestational diabetes. (Ref: IADPSG)
What is to be done upon a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes?
Compliance with your gynaecologist’s instructions is important. A healthy diet and regular exercise are effective in lowering blood glucose levels to an appreciable range. Weight gain should be gradual and monitoring of HbA1C along with fasting as well as postprandial blood glucose levels is must as per doctor’s instructions.
A. Eat Healthily: Nutrition is the key to a healthy pregnancy. Diet experts recommend:
- That you eat three main meals and two healthy snacks a day.
- Eating all seasonal vegetables is helpful. Consume fresh salad in lunch as well as dinner. Vegetables provide the fibre as well as all essential vitamins and minerals necessary for both mother and child.
- Proteins like pulses, lentils, dairy and non-vegetarian foods in all meals help ensure healthy weight gain of baby and mother moreover reduces the risk of spiking blood glucose levels as seen in cereal rich diet.
- Carbohydrates advised are high fibre sources from millets, grains and brown rice.
- Eat plenty of green vegetable soups, homemade protein shakes and coconut water to increase nutrition quotient and fluid intake. This enables healthy nutrient passage to the baby and maintaining placental health as well as amniotic fluid quality.
Consult a certified dietitian or gestational diabetes educator for a customized plan that includes all nutrients and will help regulate your weight as well as blood glucose levels during pregnancy.
Exercise is good during pregnancy for healthy labour. Walking, swimming and prenatal yoga are the most recommended forms of exercise and gynaecologists direction need to be considered. Physically active pregnant woman are encouraging reduced insulin sensitivity and a better blood glucose profile in pregnancy.
C. Sleep Well:
Sleeping releases hormones that regulate metabolism. Experts claim that erratic sleep patterns also affect insulin sensitivity and lead to high sugar levels. Rest when tired, take afternoon naps and maintain a healthy nighttime sleep ritual.
To regulate blood glucose levels in gestational diabetes follow diet and exercise routine. Medications or insulin therapy may be suggested during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is a condition and not a disease by itself. With its good management, healthy delivery is possible. According to the American Diabetes Association, women need to be extra cautious after delivery because if they have had diabetes during pregnancy, it is quite likely to develop adult-onset diabetes later in life.