Gestational diabetes is becoming more common, and even more of a problem.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women. It usually develops between week 24 and week 28 of the pregnancy, as the body does not produce enough insulin at this stage to deal with the increased levels of sugar in the body that helps the baby grow.
Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy complications, affecting 1 in every 10 pregnant women. The chance of developing gestational diabetes is much higher if you are overweight or obese. If pregnancy diabetes is not treated, it can lead to serious health issues for both the mother and the baby.
Luckily, there is some good news. If the condition is detected early on, it can be relatively easy to manage. When managed properly, there is low- to no risk for further health issues for the mother and the baby.
What Causes Gestational Diabetes?
Pregnancy diabetes usually occurs when hormones from the placenta prevent the insulin in the body from doing its job properly. This then results in high levels of sugar in the blood, which can then be classified as diabetes if it is not treated.
Constant high levels of blood sugar can lead to many other health complications such as damage to the nerves, blood vessels and organs.
It is not yet clear why certain women develop gestational diabetes and others don’t, but more and more research is being done on the topic.
Who Carries The Highest Risk for Gestational Diabetes?
Research shows you’re at a higher risk for gestational diabetes with these factors…
- Being Overweight:
In this case “overweight” refers to having a BMI of 30 or more. If you are overweight going into pregnancy, or pick up too much weight during pregnancy, you are at a much higher risk of developing pregnancy diabetes.
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- Excess Abdominal Fat:
Gaining weight during pregnancy is natural, but if you gain too much abdominal fat, especially in the first trimester, it can open you up to a serious risk of gestational diabetes.
- Women Above 35:
Various doctors have noted that women over the age of 35 are more often than not the ones who suffer from gestational diabetes.
- A Family History of Diabetes:
This includes type-1, type-2, as well as gestational diabetes that runs in the family.
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- A Personal History of Pregnancy Diabetes:
This applies to women who have already had a child or children. If you developed pregnancy diabetes whilst carrying your previous child, the chances are much higher of developing it during the next pregnancy.
If your blood sugar levels are higher than normal even before pregnancy, it might be that you suffer from pre-diabetes and this can leave you with a much greater risk of developing pregnancy diabetes.
- Have Been Put on Bed Rest:
Well, it’s is not the actual bed rest that will give you pregnancy diabetes, but rather the lack of physical activity that comes with it. This can cause fat gain which may in turn lead to a higher risk of gestational diabetes.
What are the Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes?
In most cases, women with have gestational diabetes don’t experience visible symptoms, although some may experience:
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent and very copious urination – unlike the also frequent, but usually light urination of early pregnancy.
- Fatigue – Can be very difficult to differentiate from normal pregnancy fatigue.
- Snoring – Although nasal congestion is a common side effect of pregnancy even without pregnancy diabetes, snoring more than usual should be taken up with your healthcare practitioner.
How is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed?
You’ve probably noticed by now that your doctor asks for a urine sample at every office visit. That’s in part to check for sugar in your urine, which can be a sign of gestational diabetes (though one positive screening doesn’t necessarily mean you have GDM).
It is recommended that all pregnant women should be screened specifically for gestational diabetes. Around week 28 of pregnancy your practitioner should give you a glucose screening test, where you’ll drink a sugary liquid and have your blood drawn an hour later. If your blood work picks up high sugar levels, your doctor will have you take a three-hour glucose tolerance test to determine whether you have gestational diabetes.
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What are the complications of Gestational Diabetes?
If it is detected early-on and managed properly, gestational diabetes should not cause any serious health complications.
However, if it is not managed properly, it can have serious consequences. These complications come as a result of the high sugar levels in the body, which can then enter the baby’s bloodstream through the placenta.
When gestational diabetes is not controlled, it raises the risk of macrosomia, which is a condition where the baby grows too large, and it often makes natural birth very difficult. These babies usually have trouble with their blood sugar levels since birth, and are at a severe risk for obesity later in their childhood.
Another concerning complication of gestational diabetes is pregnancy-induced hypertension, also known as preeclampsia. It can lead to problems like jaundice, breathing issues, and low blood sugar levels for the baby after birth. It also opens up the child for obesity and type-2 diabetes later in life.
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How Can You Prevent Gestational Diabetes?
Certain factors like a family history of disease and becoming pregnant later in life are things that cannot really be changed. However, if your risk for gestational diabetes comes from being overweight, not eating healthy, or getting insufficient exercise then there is plenty that you can do to bring down your chances of developing pregnancy diabetes.
The 3 keys to preventing gestational diabetes are…
- Staying Active:
The best thing is to work out under the guidance of your healthcare practitioner, and get them to set up an exercise routine that will work the best for you. It is a great way to burn excess sugar, thus your pancreas won’t have to work as hard to produce enough insulin to maintain steady blood sugar levels.
- Following a Healthy Diet:
The key here is to follow a healthy, sustainable eating plan that can transform into healthy eating habits for life.
Make sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, minimize your fat intake, and try to cut out sugary processed foods completely.
The easiest way to think of it is as a high-fiber, low-fat eating plan. This is why you should also consume plenty of whole grains, low-fat dairy, meat, legumes and fish. As always, watching your portion size is vital.
Check out the Manna Low GI Diet for healthy food choices.
- Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight:
With assistance from your practitioner, try maintaining a normal weight and BMI. For pregnancy this means to gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy, and lose the kilograms pounds afterwards.
How is Gestational Diabetes Treated?
Whilst it is recommended that gestational diabetes be prevented rather than being treated, it can usually be reversed by taking the right action…
Check your blood sugar levels first thing in the morning, in order to get a fasting rate. Take it again about an hour after you have had a meal in order to make sure that it stays within healthy levels.
This should be done by using a diabetes kit that uses a small needle to make a tiny prick on the finger in order to read the sugar levels in the blood.
- Meet with a dietitian:
He/she can help you review healthy food options and put together a meal plan. Many women stick to their “gestational diabetes” diet of low-carb, low-sugar foods long after birth. See the Manna Low GI Diet in the free eBook for recipes and menu plans.
- Keep track of what you eat:
The best way is to keep a food log. After each meal, write down everything you ate along with your blood sugar level at the time. This helps you to better understand which foods are spiking your sugar levels so you can avoid them.
- Get moving:
You don’t have to spend 3 hours in the gym, simply go for a walk or take the stairs after a meal to lower your glucose levels.
A natural organic Supplement for Gestational Diabetes that is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
It is not a good idea to control diabetes during pregnancy with chemical medication, because you will not be able to breastfeed your baby. However, you can take the 100% organic Manna Blood Sugar Support to help control sugar levels during this precious time. Manna Blood Sugar Support not only will help with glucose control, but the product also contain high levels of plant based calcium to help prevent calcium lost.
Manna Blood Sugar Support supplement is made from pods of the South African Mesquite trees and according to published scientific research, the product can help to support healthy blood sugar levels.
How the products works:
When taken with food, the organic fibers and essential sugars in the product forms a gelling effect, slowing down the release of glucose from the food to the blood stream.
Manna Blood Sugar Support is the only certified organic blood sugar support supplement in the world.
This supplement is manufactured in a FDA registered pharmaceutical facility under strict GMP-HACCP regulations for your safety.