The bodies of pregnant women require increased insulin production. If the amount of insulin produced is not sufficient, blood sugar level increases and a condition of gestational diabetes mellitus, GDM, develops. It is of utmost importance to try to prevent the development of gestational diabetes and take the proper measures if you discover you have as it can have adverse side effects.
Side Effects of GDM
The increased blood sugar level affects the baby and can make him/her grow large to a degree that requires a cesarean section. Moreover, a mother suffering from gestational diabetes may give birth to a baby with hypoglycemia who would need to be treated with measures to increase blood sugar levels. If GDM is severe and left untreated it increases the risk of stillbirth.
How to Prevent Gestational Diabetes
• Quit smoking: Smoking increases your risk of developing gestational diabetes and threatens the health of your baby from several aspects.
• Eat a balanced diet: Overweight women are at a higher risk of GDM. Losing weight by exercising and eating a balanced diet that is low in sugar and fat, and rich in fibers will help you in keeping diabetes at bay.
• Breastfeed: Breastfeeding helps in reducing the chances of developing diabetes in future pregnancies because breastfeeding enables women to metabolize glucose more efficiently.
Your doctor will ask for a glucose tolerance test between the 24 and 28 weeks of gestation. You will be required to drink a beverage that has 50 grams of glucose and then your blood will be tested after one hour. A normal blood sugar level after this test means that you are safe of GDM. Otherwise, if you have increased blood sugar level, you will need to take an oral glucose tolerance test to make sure that you have the diabetes and get ready for proper measurements.