See A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
If you dont already see a dietitian, you should start seeing one before you get pregnant. Your dietitian can help you learn what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat to reach or stay at a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Together, you and your dietitian will create a meal plan to fit your needs, schedule, food preferences, medical conditions, medicines, and physical activity routine.
During pregnancy, some women need to make changes in their meal plan, such as adding extra calories, protein, and other nutrients. You will need to see your dietitian every few months during pregnancy as your dietary needs change.
What You Can Do
Gestational diabetes usually starts in the beginning of the third trimester. However, if you have some risk factors, your doctor may recommend an early glucose test around the end of the first trimester. It is repeated again between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy, and if you test negative then, you won’t be tested again. For the test, a laboratory technician will check your blood sugar after you drink a sugary drink.
Work with your doctor to lower your blood sugar during pregnancy. Depending on your test results, this might mean diet changes or medicine. When you keep your blood sugar under control, your baby will be less likely to have diabetes, be born at a heavier-than-normal weight, or have other health problems.
What Effects Does Gestational Diabetes Have After Pregnancy
If blood glucose levels remain high even after giving birth, its likely that the mother has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Talk to a healthcare professional about appropriate screening and follow-up.
Women who experience gestational diabetes have an increased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes later. This risk can be reduced with an appropriate treatment plan, often including strategic nutrition and exercise.
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What Are The Things That Might Make You Think You Dont Have Gestational Diabetes
Things like normal weight gain, no high blood sugars prior to pregnancy, and no family history of diabetes do put you at a lower risk. However, its still not unusual for people with all of these positive signs to STILL have diabetes!
Hence, you HAVE to take the test.
And yes, this does seem complicated to have something that can be so problematic be an issue so detrimental to your baby. Its annoying our body cant detect it on its own.
Want to simplify pregnancythis is the one to do that!
Who’s At Risk Of Gestational Diabetes
Any woman can develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but you’re at an increased risk if:
- your body mass index is above 30 use the BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your BMI
- you previously had a baby who weighed 4.5kg or more at birth
- you had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- 1 of your parents or siblings has diabetes
- you are of south Asian, Black, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern origin
If any of these apply to you, you should be offered screening for gestational diabetes during your pregnancy.
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How Can Diabetes Affect My Baby
A babys organs, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs, start forming during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. High blood glucose levels can be harmful during this early stage and can increase the chance that your baby will have birth defects, such as heart defects or defects of the brain or spine.
High blood glucose levels during pregnancy can also increase the chance that your baby will be born too early, weigh too much, or have breathing problems or low blood glucose right after birth.
High blood glucose also can increase the chance that you will have a miscarriage or a stillborn baby.1 Stillborn means the baby dies in the womb during the second half of pregnancy.
What To Do During The Procedure
- You must remain seated quietly for 30 minutes before and during the test.
- You will be at the collection centre for a minimum of 2 hours and 45 minutes.
- You are required to remain in the collection centre until the procedure is completed.
- Bring some reading material or other activity to pass the time.
- If you feel unwell during the test, please inform the collection staff as you may wish to lie down.
- A fasting blood sample collected.
- A 75g bottle of glucose to drink within 5 minutes.
- A 1 hour post glucose blood sample collected.
- A 2 hour post glucose blood sample collected.
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Take Vitamin And Mineral Supplements
Folic acid is an important vitamin for you to take before and during pregnancy to protect your babys health. Youll need to start taking folic acid at least 1 month before you get pregnant. You should take a multivitamin or supplement that contains at least 400 micrograms of folic acid. Once you become pregnant, you should take 600 mcg daily.4 Ask your doctor if you should take other vitamins or minerals, such as iron or calcium supplements, or a multivitamin.
Tips To Maintain Normal Blood Sugar Levels During Pregnancy
Well, being careful with what you eat is of utmost importance. Here are other tips.
- Eat less but eat right, have more proteins and fewer carbs.
- Eat frequently in little quantities, probably for every 2 hours.
- Avoid processed foods.
- Be physically active.
- Go for regular checkups.
- Keep an eye on your medicines, dont take any drug without prior approval of your doctor.
Follow these steps and you will have the ideal blood sugar level during pregnancy.
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.
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What Happens During The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
The oral glucose tolerance test involves quickly drinking a sweetened liquid , which contains 50g of glucose. The body absorbs this glucose rapidly, causing blood glucose levels to rise within 30 to 60 minutes. A blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm about 60 minutes after drinking the solution. The blood test measures how the glucose solution was metabolized .
During Labour And Delivery
The aim with labour and delivery is to have a normal labour and vaginal delivery if possible. However, because you have diabetes, your medical team will be keen to avoid any problems developing during delivery for either you or the baby.
Women with diabetes have a higher chance of needing a caesarean section than women without diabetes. Also labour may need to be induced if your baby is becoming large or your pregnancy is going over term .
You will almost certainly need to go onto an I.V. drip during labour. The drip will have one bottle containing glucose and another bottle containing insulin. The rates of these drips will be changed according to your blood glucose levels. Your blood glucose levels will be checked at least every hour.
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Diet And Exercise Are Your Friends
As with all forms of diabetes, diet and exercise can help you gain the upper hand. With gestational diabetes, maintaining a balanced diet is integral to your success. Your doctor can help you develop a meal plan that makes sense for you, helping you identify the best foods and quick meal ideas that can help you stay healthy and strong.
Exercise is critical as well. Work with your doctor to determine the level of activity thats safe for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy. Use our resources as well to stay in touch with ideas for daily activity. The important thing to remember is to take action as quickly as you can, to stay with it, and to stay on top of your condition. Its treatable. Its manageable. And its a fight that you can win.
How And When Is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed
Pregnant women are usually tested for gestational diabetes between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. Healthcare professionals use two methods for diagnosis:
Two-part test: This method is common in the US. The mothers blood glucose will be measured one hour after consuming a sugary drink. If her blood sugar level is higher than 200 mg/dl, an oral glucose tolerance test will be the next step . For the oral glucose tolerance test, the mother will fast overnight. Blood sugar levels are then measured while fasting, and then one, two, and three hours after consuming a sugary drink. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed only if this test reveals two or more high blood glucose results.
One-part test: With this method, fasting blood glucose levels will be measured, and then again one hour and two hours after the mother consumes a sugary drink. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed if one or more blood sugar measurements are higher than normal.
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What Do I Need To Know About Blood Glucose Testing Before And During Pregnancy
How often you check your blood glucose levels may change during pregnancy. You may need to check them more often than you do now. If you didnt need to check your blood glucose before pregnancy, you will probably need to start. Ask your health care team how often and at what times you should check your blood glucose levels. Your blood glucose targets will change during pregnancy. Your health care team also may want you to check your ketone levels if your blood glucose is too high.
Is Low Blood Sugar Level Normal During Pregnancy
It is a known fact that the body produces more insulin for the growth of the baby but what about the sugar levels, even these change during pregnancy. When the question of the low presence of glucose in blood during pregnancy is concerned, it isnt normal however, high blood glucose level is normal.
The sugar levels come down too low in these following conditions
You are not eating enough frequently or having the wrong diet in a worry to normalize sugar level. So when this happens the baby absorbs more glucose from your body and at times may lead to low glucose in the body.
Too much exercising which leads to consumption of glucose present in the body.
At times even few medicines can drop the blood sugar quantity in the body. In such cases ask for a change of drugs so that youre saved from the low presence of sugar.
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What Is The Treatment For Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Specific treatment for gestational diabetes will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the disease
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the disease
Your opinion or preference
Treatment for gestational diabetes focuses on keeping blood glucose levels in the normal range. Treatment may include:
How Do I Prepare For A Glucose Tolerance Test
If you fail your glucose screening, your pregnancy care provider will suggest a second test to diagnose gestational diabetes. This test is similar, but lasts longer and requires more blood draws.
Your pregnancy care provider will give you specific eating instructions before your test. The instructions may include:
- Eating at least 150 milligrams of carbohydrates per day for three days before testing.
- Restricting all food and drink for at least eight to 12 hours before the test. Drinking a few sips of water the morning of the test is usually OK.
- Scheduling your test for first thing in the morning.
Its important to note, its possible to fail your glucose screening but pass a glucose tolerance test.
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What Causes Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Although the cause of GDM is not known, there are some theories as to why the condition occurs.
The placenta supplies a growing fetus with nutrients and water, and also produces a variety of hormones to maintain the pregnancy. Some of these hormones can have a blocking effect on insulin. This is called contra-insulin effect, which usually begins about 20 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy.
As the placenta grows, more of these hormones are produced, and the risk of insulin resistance becomes greater. Normally, the pancreas is able to make additional insulin to overcome insulin resistance, but when the production of insulin is not enough to overcome the effect of the placental hormones, gestational diabetes results.
Infant Mortality And Birth Defects
There is a slight increase in the risk of infant mortality or birth defects in babys of mother with diabetes than without, however preconception care can reduce this risk by ensuring the mother is as healthy as possible before and through out pregnancy
In addition to this if a woman has diabetes before pregnancy, diabetes related complications can worsen this includes things like hypertensio, kidney disease, nerve damage and retinopathy which is a form of diabetic eye disease.
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Diabetic Eye Screening In Pregnancy
You will be offered regular diabetic eye screening during your pregnancy. This is to check for signs of diabetic eye disease .
Checking your eyes during pregnancy is important. The risk of diabetic retinopathy increases in pregnancy.
Diabetic retinopathy is treatable, especially if it is caught early.
If you decide not to have the test, you should tell the doctor looking after your diabetes care.
- other health care professionals
The obstetricians and midwives will have training in diabetes in pregnancy. They will work with you to provide your antenatal care. They will organise visits and ultrasounds to check on your babys development and growth.
Blood Sugar Levels 2 Hours After Youve Eaten
Many foods have types of carbohydrates called starches and sugars. When you eat foods with these types of carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is a type of simple sugar, and releases the glucose into your bloodstream. Aside from glucose produced by your liver, food is the main source of plasma glucose.
Two hours after eating, your blood sugar levels rise. They rise more when you eat more carbohydrates, when you do not eat fiber, fat, or protein with your carbs, and when you eat certain types of carbohydrates, such as refined sugars and starches.
These are target values from The Joslin Diabetes Center, which include levels for people with diabetes:
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Can I Refuse The Glucose Challenge Test When Pregnant
Yes, you can refuse the glucose screening. However, most major medical associations and pregnancy care providers recommend all pregnant people be screened for gestational diabetes. Glucose screenings are the only way to help your provider diagnose gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes puts you and the fetus at risk for complications.
Diet And Exercise For Gestational Diabetes
Take these simple steps to stay healthy:
Eat a healthy, low-sugar diet. Talk to your doctor to be sure youâre getting the nutrition you need. Follow a meal plan made for someone with diabetes:
- Trade sugary snacks like cookies, candy, and ice cream for natural sugars like fruits, carrots, and raisins. Add vegetables and whole grains, and watch your portion sizes.
- Have three small meals along with two or three snacks about the same times every day.
- Get 40% of your daily calories from carbs and 20% from protein. Most of the carbs should be complex, high-fiber carbs, with fat being between 25% and 40%.
- Aim for 20-35 grams of fiber a day. Foods such as whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta brown or wild rice oatmeal and vegetables and fruits will help get you there.
- Limit your total fat to less than 40% of your daily calories. Saturated fat should be less than 10% of all the calories you eat.
- Eat a variety of foods to make sure you get enough vitamins and minerals. You may need to take a supplement to cover your bases. Ask your doctor if they think you should take one.
Exercise throughout your pregnancy. You can exercise when you have gestational diabetes as long as your doctor says itâs OK. Being active is a good way to help manage your blood sugar. Staying fit during pregnancy is also good for your posture and can curb some common problems, like backaches and fatigue.
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How Is Gestational Diabetes Diagnosed
The American Diabetes Association encourages doctors to routinely screen pregnant women for signs of gestational diabetes. If you have no known history of diabetes and normal blood sugar levels at the beginning of your pregnancy, your doctor will likely screen you for gestational diabetes when youre 24 to 28 weeks pregnant.
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What Do The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test Results Mean
A blood glucose level of 140mg/dL or higher will identify 80% of women with gestational diabetes. When that cutoff is lowered to 130mg/dL, the identification increases to 90%. If your blood glucose level was greater than 130 mg/dL, your provider will likely recommend you take another diabetes screening test that requires you to fast before the test.
During this second test, called the 100-gram oral glucose tolerance test, your blood glucose level will be tested four times during a three-hour period after drinking the sweetened cola-like drink. If two out of the four blood tests are abnormal, you are considered to have gestational diabetes.
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