How to Reduce your Risk of High Blood Sugar during Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time when you become accustomed to using cups for your pee. Sugar (glucose) is one thing that your doctor monitors. Although it is normal to have some in your urine, if you see them in high numbers or more frequently, this could indicate that you are at risk for gestational diabetic syndrome.
This is a very common condition and on the rise in America. A study found that gestational diabetes rates increased among women who had been pregnant with people of any race or ethnicity between 2011 and 2019. It can pose a number of health hazards and it is important to understand the causes.
These are the facts about gestational Diabetes, which includes risk factors, treatment, prevention, and screening .
Which Risk Factors Are Responsible for Gestational Diabetes
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that pregnant women receive screenings for gestational diabetics between 24 and 28 week. Your doctor may talk with you during early checks about your risk factors.
You'll likely do screening earlier if you have several risk factors, or if you had high levels of glucose during your prenatal visits.
Jeff Chapa MD, maternal-fetal medicine specialist says, "For those who have risk factors of gestational diabetics, we often recommend that they are screened earlier in pregnancy, usually in their first trimester."
Gestational diabetes is more common in women who:
- Age 35 and older
- A body mass index (BMI), greater than 30
- Type 2 diabetes is common in your family.
- A previous child weighed over 9 pounds.
- A gestational diabetic pregnancy in an older woman.
The oral glucose tolerance test is a test that your doctor may ask for. This is what will happen:
- A sweetened beverage containing 50g of glucose will be consumed quickly.
- This glucose is quickly absorbed by the body, which can cause blood sugar to increase.
- One hour after you have drank the sugary liquid your blood will be taken from your arm.
- This test will measure how efficiently your body uses glucose solutions.
Your test results may show high levels of blood glucose. You'll need to perform a more detailed test, which requires you to fast before eating.
This test involves you drinking a 100g glucose-rich liquid. Your blood sugar levels will be tested before and after you have drank the glucose. Three hours later, your glucose levels will be checked every hour. A negative test result will indicate that you have gestational diabetes. Dr. Chapa states that if you are screened early and the results are normal, then you need to be screened again between 24 and 28 weeks, when insulin resistance is at its peak.
Placenta, which connects you with your baby during pregnancy to provide nourishment and support for its growth, is an organ. Your body also produces hormones called insulin resistance. This is when your blood sugar level increases.
What you can do to reduce your risk of gestational diabetes
It's impossible to predict the future, and approximately half of those who develop gestational diabetes aren't at risk.
Ob/Gyn Salena Zonotti, MD says that many people believe they are immune to gestational diabetes. "But the hormonal changes that happen in pregnancy can still cause you to develop gestational diabetes, so making people aware of the lifestyle changes they can make before they get pregnant is key."
She advises that you adopt the best health habits possible, not only during pregnancy but also after.
You can increase your activity: Walking, swimming, yoga, and other low-impact activities are the best. Discuss your options with your physician to determine what activity is right for you. You can make smarter choices regarding what you eat. A nutritionist or your doctor will be able to help you. Avoid refined carbs and sugar (such as white bread, white rice, pasta) in general. You should eat more fiber, such as whole fruits and vegetables, unsweetened nuts, and whole grains. Dr. Zanotti states that both these factors can make a big difference, but it's important to adopt healthy habits prior to getting pregnant.
How can I avoid gestational diabetes?
Problems with gestational diabetes may cause serious health problems in both the baby and you.
"When the body's insulin supply doesn't keep pace, more glucose stays in your body, and your child receives extra sugar which then is stored in their bodies as fat," Dr. Chapa says.
There are many possible outcomes:
- Higher chance for a cesarean birth, also known by a C section.
- Preeclampsia is a severe blood pressure condition that can lead to an increase in the risk.
- Probability of having a bigger-than-average baby (macrosomia).
- Higher risk for neonatal and fetal death
"Babies born to mothers with diabetes need their blood sugar levels monitored after birth," Dr. Chapa adds. Low blood sugars in babies born to mothers who have diabetes can cause seizures.
What if Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy?
Your doctor may diagnose you with gestational diabetics. However, you can have a healthy baby by practicing good health habits.
Dr. Zanotti assures, "Don't be alarmed or worried." It will be managed by your provider so you can both stay healthy.
To ensure stable blood sugar levels:
Keep an eye out: You provider will discuss your blood sugar target and teach you how you can monitor it.
Be careful with your diet. A diet plan for gestational diabetes can help to prevent complications during pregnancy. You should eat lean protein, limit carbs, and avoid simple sugars.
Regular exercise is safe and easy for pregnant women. It has been proven that regular exercise can help reduce pregnancy-related diseases, such as gestational diabetes.
Dr. Zanotti states that it is possible to control gestational diabetics if the condition can be diagnosed and treated early. For a few people, these things may not work. In those cases, medication might be helpful.
After You've Given Birth
Although most people have normal blood sugar levels after giving birth, your doctor may check it during postpartum. Gestational diabetes can have long-lasting effects that increase your risk for:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Type 2 Diabetes
Approximately 10% of women with gestational diabetics have Type 2 Diabetes without realizing it. In 10 years, approximately half of those with gestational glucose will develop Type 2 diabetes.
According to Dr. Zanotti, this means your primary physician should monitor your blood sugars. It is also important that you take responsibility for your health. Your risk of developing diabetes will be reduced if you are as healthy and fit as possible.