Diabetes and Pregnancy – A Major Concern for Expectant Mothers
Gestational diabetes most often appears during the middle of the second trimester, or around 22 to 24 weeks. All pregnant women are encouraged to take the 1 hour glucose tolerance test, or GTT, around 22 weeks to check for gestational diabetes. The test includes drinking a heavily sugared drink and then blood sugar levels being tested through a blood draw one hour later. If the levels are higher than desired, gestational diabetes is suspected and a second, longer test is prescribed. This second test is 3 hours long and is known as the 3 hour GTT. If the levels are higher than desired after this test, the woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
All cases are treated differently, and there is no magic way to cure gestational diabetes. Most women begin treatment by meeting with a dietician and going on a strict lower carbohydrate diet. Usually, this is enough to keep blood sugar levels in a normal range. However, some women do require treatment through oral medications or insulin injections. In addition, women will need to be seen by their doctors more often for monitoring. Most likely, patients will need to be seen about once per week and will also need to undergo non-stress tests beginning at about 32 weeks of pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a great time for many women, but some suffer more than others. If you have had a hard pregnancy, you may wonder how some women seem to sail through it looking happy and glowing while you were throwing up all the time, and had to take special precautions to protect your pregnancy. There are some complications that can come along, but many of them can be managed. If you are concerned about the state of your health, or the health of your baby, think about preventing gestational diabetes before and during your pregnancy.
You don’t always have time to think about preventing gestational diabetes because your pregnancy was a welcome surprise. No one knows when they are going to get pregnant, because it can take up to six months or longer for those that are actively trying. Some get it the first try, and some have to wait for everything to fall into place in just the right manner. If you know you want to have a baby, there are some things that you should do. One of the biggest is to lose weight if you are not happy with your weight. Gestational diabetes often happens to moms that are overweight going into a pregnancy, though not exclusively.
Women with gestational diabetes are required to test their blood sugar levels at a minimum of 4 times per day – after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner and before bed. Blood sugar levels are tested with a glucose monitor, which requires a finger prick to extract a small amount of blood to put on a test strip. Within 15 seconds, the blood sugar level is displayed. Levels for a woman with gestational diabetes should be below 150 within 2 hours after eating and below 95 after fasting, or first thing in the morning.
A crash diet or a diet that severely restricts calories is not the best way to lose weight when trying to get pregnant. If you are not getting enough calories and good foods, your body is not going to want to get pregnant because it is in a stressed state. Instead, go with a healthier eating plan that includes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and dairy, and stay away from a lot of sugary desserts. This can go a long way towards preventing gestational diabetes while you are pregnant too, so start this type of eating plan and stay on it as you try to conceive and after conception.
If you have diabetes consider a weight loss program to lose some pounds.
If you are already pregnant and worried about GD, preventing gestational diabetes is not always possible, but the above mentioned eating plan can help you avoid it in some cases. In fact, if you stay on a diet that is recommended by an OB that is well versed in gestational diabetes, you can possible prevent this problem, or at least keep is so that you do not have to take extra medications or give yourself insulin shots while pregnant.
When thinking about preventing diabetes, remember that it is important for your health. Some women who have GD end up with diabetes after giving birth and some do not. You don’t know what is going to happen to you. There are also complications for the baby with gestational diabetes, including the possibility of preterm birth, and a very large birth weight, which can lead to a Cesarean section and other complications if baby goes full term. Take care with your health, but if you can’t avoid, make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter for the best possible outcome for both you and your baby.
Complications from gestational diabetes are an increased chance of pre-eclampsia, babies with higher birth weights and broader shoulders which may require a c-section, and stillbirth.
The majority of women diagnosed do not have any complications that arise.
As long as blood sugar levels are kept as close to normal as possible, the rest of the pregnancy should be free of complications from gestational diabetes.
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