Gestational diabetes refers to the increased blood sugar levels that occur during pregnancy due to blockage of insulin by the pregnancy hormones. The sugar levels get back to normal after the delivery.
The increased blood sugar levels are more common in women who get pregnant after the age of 25. Women with high blood pressure and a family history of diabetes are at a greater risk of gestational diabetes. Obesity and excessive amniotic fluid may also experience gestational diabetes. While most women do not experience any symptoms related to gestational diabetes, some may experience symptoms such as blurred vision, fatigue, increased thirst and frequent urination.
Treatment aims to maintain normal blood sugar levels and health of the unborn baby. Apart from monitoring the growth of the baby via regular fetal ultrasounds, your doctor may also recommend regular exercise and healthy gastrointestinal diabetes diet to manage the condition.
Components of Gestational Diabetes Diet
Most doctors recommend avoiding sugary foods and refined sugars to control your blood sugar levels. It is also important to cut the portion size of your meals and limit the intake of high-fat foods at mealtime. Large amounts of carbohydrates in the diet can increase blood sugar levels in your blood, which may increase your risk of preterm delivery and excessive birth weight of the newborn baby.
You should, however, remember that proper nutrition during pregnancy is important for the overall growth and development of your baby. Consider adding high-fiber foods, fruits and vegetables to your diet. The low-fat, low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods should be part of every gestational diabetes diet. You should also eat protein-rich foods to boost your immune system during pregnancy.
You may talk to you doctor or dietician to design a gestational diabetes diet that would work for you based on your blood sugar levels, dietary preferences as well as food allergies. In fact, it is best to talk to doctor before making any significant changes in your diet or exercise regimen during pregnancy to make sure it is safe for you and your baby.
Along with a gestational diabetes diet, your doctor may also recommend oral diabetes medications or insulin injections throughout the pregnancy. You may also have to monitor your blood sugar levels frequently during the day. Your doctor may monitor your blood sugar levels for two months after pregnancy to make sure they have returned to normal levels. Most women recover within this time frame.