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If a woman gets diabetes or high blood sugar when she is pregnant, but she never had it before, then she has gestational diabetes.
Why didn't I have diabetes before? Remember that only pregnant women get gestational diabetes. When you're pregnant, your body goes through a lot of changes. In this case, being pregnant changed your metabolism. The placenta, (the system of vessels that passes nutrients, blood, and water from mother to fetus), makes certain hormones that prevent insulin from working the way it is supposed to. This situation is called insulin resistance.
To keep your metabolism normal, your body has to make three times its normal amount of insulin or more to overcome the hormones made by the placenta. For most women, the body's extra insulin is enough to keep their blood sugar levels in the healthy range. But, for about 5 percent of pregnant women, even the extra insulin isn't enough to keep their blood sugar level normal. At about the 20th to the 24th week of pregnancy, they end up with high blood sugar or gestational diabetes.
It takes time for insulin resistance to affect your body in a way that health care providers can measure, which is why tests for gestational diabetes are usually done between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy
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Will I have diabetes after I have my baby?
Once you have the baby, your body should be
able to use its insulin more effectively. Shortly after the baby is born, the
placenta is delivered. (This is sometimes called the afterbirth.) Because the placenta causes insulin
resistance, when it's gone, gestational
diabetes usually goes away, too. Six
weeks after your baby is born,
you should have a blood test to find
out whether your blood
sugar level is back to normal.
If you have gestational diabetes, you are
at higher than normal risk for developing
type 2 diabetes later in your life.
Keeping your weight within a healthy
range and keeping up regular, moderate
physical activity after your baby is born can help lower your risk for type
Can I breastfeed even though I have gestational diabetes? Like all mothers, women with gestational diabetes should breastfeed their babies, if possible. Breastfeeding not only provides benefits for your baby but is also beneficial for mothers. It allows your body to use up some extra calories that were stored during pregnancy. Losing weight after having the baby enhances overall health and is one way to reduce your chances of developing diabetes later in life. Many women who have gestational diabetes also find that breastfeeding improves their fasting blood sugar level and allows them to maintain a lower average blood sugar level once their babies are born.
Plan your next pregnancy.
If you know that you want to get pregnant in the future, have a blood sugar test up to three months before becoming pregnant to make sure you have a normal blood sugar level. If your blood sugar level is high, you may have developed type-2 diabetes without knowing it. It's important to get your blood sugar level under control before you get pregnant. If you do get pregnant again, make sure your health care provider knows that you had gestational diabetes with your last pregnancy. If you had gestational diabetes with one pregnancy, your risk of getting it with another pregnancy is about 36 percent.
Most women who have gestational diabetes give birth to healthy babies, especially when they keep their blood sugar under control, eat a healthy diet, get regular, moderate physical activity, and maintain a healthy weight. In some cases though, the condition can affect the pregnancy.
Below are some conditions that can result from your having gestational diabetes. Keep in mind that just because you have gestational diabetes DOES NOT mean that these problems will occur.
Macrosomia - Baby's body is larger than normal. Large bodied babies sometimes get injured by natural delivery through the vagina; the baby may need to be delivered through caesarean section.
Hypoglycemia - Baby's blood sugar is too low. You may need to start breastfeeding right away to get more glucose into the baby's system.
Jaundice - Baby's skin turns yellowish; white parts of the eyes may also change color slightly. If treated, jaundice is not a serious problem for the baby.
Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) - Baby has trouble breathing. The baby might need oxygen or other help breathing if he or she has RDS.
Low Calcium and Magnesium Levels in the Baby's Blood- Baby could develop a condition that causes spasms in the hands and feet, or twitching or cramping muscles. This condition can be treated with calcium and magnesium supplements ...more
Women with gestational diabetes often need regular, moderate physical activity, such as walking, prenatal aerobics class, or swimming, to help control blood sugar levels.
The specific amount of physical activity that you need depends on how active you were before you were pregnant, and whether or not you have any other health concerns.
One thing you need to watch is your level of effort, called your exertion level. If you can talkeasily while doing an activity, insteadof gasping for air, your level ofexertion is good. If you cannot talkeasily, or find yourself coughing orgasping for air, you need to loweryour level of exertion by slowingdown or stopping for a while.
Most women can stay active throughout their pregnancies. However, your health care provider may recommend that you become less active as you get closer to your due date. Keep in mind that it may take two to four weeks for your physical activity to have an effect on your blood sugar levels.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Complete moderate and regular physical activity unless your health care provider tells you not to.
Choose activities like swimming, that don't require a lot of standing or balance.
Wear loose, light clothing that won't make you sweat too much or get too hot.
Drink a lot of water before, during, and after your activity.
Eat a healthy diet and gain the right amount of weight (10-12 Kgs).
Watch your level of exertion (Can you talk easily?).
Get too tired while working out or doing physical activity.
Do any activity while lying on your back when you are in your 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
Perform activities in very hot weather.
Perform activities that may bump or hurt your belly, or that may cause you to lose your balance.
Fast (skip meals) or do physical activity when you are hungry.
For women with gestational diabetes, a healthy diet helps to keep blood sugar levels in the healthy target range. To promote health throughout your pregnancy, it is essential that you workwith your health care provider to create a plan for your healthy diet.
Carbohydrate counting helps you keep your blood glucose levels in target. This is important because gestational diabetes cause your blood glucose levels to go too high.
Eat 3 meals and 3-4 snacks each day at regular times. Avoid skipping meals.
You may need to eat fewer carbs at breakfast. Try starting with 2 carb choices, or 30 grams of carb. Still hungry? Add meat, meat substitutes, or nonstarchy vegetables to your meal to help fill you up.
Eat consistent amounts of carb at meals and snacks from day to day.
DESCRIPTION AND TIPS
WHAT ARE SOME FOODS IN THIS GROUP?
These foods give you essential fatty acids and vitamins. Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat, trans-fats, and cholesterol and moderate in total fat. Use vegetable oil srather than solid fats (such as those in meat or dairy foods and shortening).
This group gives your body carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Whole grain products are high in these nutrients.
Avoid high-fat or fried tarchy vegetables and grain products.
Use seasonings and fat-free or low-fat toppings and sauces to add flavor
"Free" foods are those that have less than 20 calories.
Water is considered a "free" food; you can drink as much water as you want.In fact,
most health care providers recommend that you drink a lot of water when you are
Drinks: sugar-free/ unsweetened and low-salt versions of broth, bouillon, consommes, mineral water, club soda.
Include the following food group each day
Fruits: 2-3 servings each day. Choose whole fruit instead of juice when possible. Grains, beans and starchy vegetables: 6 or more servings each day. Look for whole grain and high fiber foods. Milk and yogurt: 3-4 servings each day. Look for low fat or non-fat choices Sweets: keep portions small. Count the carbs. Vegetables: 3 or more servings each day Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese: 100-150 g each day. Choose lean meats and low fat cheeses Fats: choose healthier fats. Limit saturated fats. Avoid trans fats.