A common observation these days is that many women are developing diabetes during their pregnancies. Earlier it was seen that approximately 2-5% of women develop diabetes in pregnancy. Today it is far more common and there are various factors responsible for this. Age is one of the biggest factors as it is seen that women getting pregnant close to age 35 are more prone to diabetes than women getting pregnant in their 20’s. Today many women are putting off their pregnancy for a later age to pursue their careers. Please think again it’s not worth it. Body weight is another big factor. Those who start their pregnancy over weight or obese and then gain more weight in pregnancy are greatly prone to gestational diabetes.
Many women just let themselves go after marriage and in a year or two are 10-20 kgs more than the weight on their wedding day. Here prevention is better than cure. Please control your self. Also many women today in the IT world with long working hours, sitting at the computer or office desk and night shifts are gaining weight rapidly. Beware you are jeopardizing your pregnancy and the health and normalcy of your baby can be at risk. Earlier most women started their pregnancies at a weight between 55 to 65 kgs. Today many women in their early 30’s weigh 75 to 85kgs. They are doing very well in their carriers and therefore feel the over weight is compensated.
Those who have family history of diabetes i.e. if your parents, uncles, aunt’s, or grandparents are diabetic then there is a good chance that you could become diabetic either in your pregnancy or later in life so be very cautious. Finally if you tend to be a less active person i.e. those with habitually low levels of physical activity are at higher risk than other women. Check yourself, are you one who doesn’t like to be on the move much and if you sit you don’t feel like getting up easily, then you could predispose yourself to diabetes.
I would appeal to all young women, all those just married and contemplating becoming mothers, to take stock of their lives and steer clear of danger. The gestational diabetes is usually seen to occur in the second half of pregnancy. It has to be very carefully treated and may require insulin injections for the mother daily, plus a controlled diet. The baby inside may become abnormally large, creating a problem with labour and the delivery, caesarian may then be required. There may be a problem with the baby’s blood sugar levels after the delivery, besides various physical abnormalities may arise. Still birth may occur. Gestational diabetes may disappear after the delivery but you could take it as a warning to avoid becoming a diabetic in your 40’s or 50’s. Walk, weight control and healthy eating – (balanced, regular meals with plenty of fiber) is the treatment.
1. Walking is a must as it helps to stimulate insulin production in the body and this will keep the blood sugar levels down. If you can do a 20 min walk in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening it is ideal. If this is not possible try to be active throughout the day. You may rest if necessary but for a short duration 20-30 minutes and get out of bed immediately when the nap is over.
2. Till the sugar levels are controlled you need to completely give up all fatty foods like, all fried foods, all nuts, all ground coconut dishes and all sweets and pastries.
3. Try to avoid rice and rice items and instead use whole wheat roties, whole wheat bread, oats, ragi, cornflakes, jowar, bajra etc,. Also try to include raw salads both with lunch and dinner and avoid fresh juices and instead eat whole fruits. These fibrous foods help to lower the sugar levels.