Gestational diabetes is the condition in which pregnant women suffer from high blood glucose levels. This condition is mainly detected between 24-28 weeks of gestation. Through Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and through Urinary glucose testing it can be detected whether a woman is suffering from gestational diabetes or not.
Once the condition is determined it becomes imperative that the pregnant mother be given medical treatment so that she can go on to have a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Medical treatment aims to reduce the risk factors of gestational diabetes for both mother and child. For this the doctor and mother need to work together. Many a times the condition can be controlled if the mother takes care of her diet properly. Doctors’ advice the G.I. Diet since it is slow release carbohydrate diet.
As gestational diabetes involves an increase of glucose in the blood, a diet of 2,000 – 2,500 calories is enough for the mother and her growing baby. Simple carbohydrates need to be eliminated all together from the diet. Carbohydrate intake should be spread evenly between all meals. However, carbs during breakfast should be avoided all together. This is because insulin resistance reaches its highest in the mornings.
It is possible to control glucose levels by following a proper diet and exercise. The result will show effect on both the mother’s and baby’s health. Also, by restricting carbohydrates, the baby’s chances of being macrosomic decrease greatly. This will reduce chances of induction of labor or cesarean section at the time of birth. However, if diet control and exercise fail to bring about the desired glucose level, then the mother has to be given insulin therapy and anti diabetic drugs. These work only on the mother’s body without affecting fetal growth.
But in the anxiety of delivering a healthy baby, a mother should not neglect her own health. Once the baby is born, gestational diabetes will disappear. But OGTT must be repeated 2-4 months after delivery. This is necessary to ensure that no signs of diabetes lingers. But these women should get themselves screened regularly for type 2 diabetes even if they did not suffer from it before pregnancy.