Health Watch: Gestational Diabetes Skyrocketing

pregnant woman

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Once a woman becomes pregnant, there are many risks that she faces during her pregnancy such as reproductive abnormalities, delivering prematurely, chromosomal problems and even miscarriages. However, there are ways moms can protect themselves from fighting one particular complication.

It’s one of the happiest moments in the life of most mom’s: becoming pregnant, but there are a lot of risks involved.

Karen Elkind-Hirsch, PhD, Woman’s Hospital Research Director, Baton Rouge, says, “People are defied because before I got pregnant, I didn’t have diabetes. I now have diabetes when I’m pregnant.”

That is called gestational diabetes. Nine out of every one hundred pregnant women will develop the condition. And having a family member with diabetes or one who had a baby over nine pounds just increases the risk. And that risk continues beyond your delivery.

“While gestational diabetes goes away after you deliver, your risk for Type II diabetes does not go away,” continued. Dr. Elkind-Hirsch.

So how do you lower the risk? First, include fiber in your diet: for example, whole-grain crackers and breads, cereals, bananas, raspberries, peas and broccoli. Studies showed that just ten grams of fiber can reduce the risk by 26 percent. Also try taking the stairs, doing yoga, or just playing outside with the kids. It’s recommended to get about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise four to five times a week.

Between 24 and 28 weeks, a pregnant woman needs to have a gestational diabetes screening. If you need extra help, doctors may prescribe insulin to you. There are no negative effects towards your baby, and it will help regulate your body‘s blood sugar levels.

Contributors to this news report include: Keon Broadnax, Field Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.

BACKGROUND: Diabetes means your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Too much glucose in your blood is not good. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It is usually diagnosed in the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. If a pregnant mother has gestational diabetes, they are more likely to develop preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure and too much protein in your urine during the second half of pregnancy. Preeclampsia can cause serious or life-threatening problems and the only cure is to give birth. Gestational diabetes may increase the chance of having a c-section because your baby may be large. If a mother has gestational diabetes, they are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

(Source: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/gestational/definition-facts)

DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT: Most women with gestational diabetes have no obvious symptoms, while some experience extreme hunger, thirst, or fatigue. These symptoms are common during typical pregnancies, therefore Dr. Tania Esakoff, clinical director of the Prenatal Diagnosis Center, suggests it’s essential to get proper screening. “We have patients who take care of themselves, are in excellent shape, watch their diet, and they still get it,” says Dr. Esakoff. “So you should definitely get tested around 24-28 weeks.” Tests include a 1-hour glucose tolerance test, and if it’s positive, a follow-up 3-hour test to confirm the diagnosis. Keeping active is important and keeps you and the baby healthy and minimizes weight gain. Women who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop gestational diabetes. It is recommended consulting a diabetic nurse educator, dietitian, or doctor to find a way of eating that works for you. “Controlling gestational diabetes is about finding a correct balance of protein, fats, and carbs,” Dr. Esakoff explains. Some women also need medication or insulin injections.

(Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/gestational-diabetes.html)

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS: One way of keeping blood sugar levels in normal range is by monitoring the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. These foods digest and turn into blood glucose (a type of sugar). Glucose in the blood is necessary because it is fuel for your body and nourishment your baby receives from you. The two most important pieces of information on food labels for a carbohydrate-controlled diet is the serving size and grams of total carbohydrate in each serving. Eating too much at one time can cause your blood sugar to rise too much, so it’s important that you do not skip meals. Starchy foods eventually turn into glucose so it’s important not to be excessive. Milk is a healthy food and an important source of calcium, but too much is not good. Fruit is high in natural sugars and it’s recommended to eat one to three portions of fruit per day, but only one at a time. Blood sugar can be difficult to control in the morning, so refined cereals, fruits and even milk may not be well tolerated. Cakes, cookies, candies and pastries have excessive amounts of carbohydrates and contain large amounts of fat and offer very little in terms of nutrition. Finally, avoid all regular sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages.

(Source: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/dietary-recommendations-for-gestational-diabetes)

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