Diabetes in Pregnancy  


Approximately 2-5% of women develop diabetes in pregnancy. The chances of developing this is effected by various factors. Age, women above 35 are more prone. Today many women are putting off their pregnancy for a later age to pursue their careers. Please think again its 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.

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. 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.

Weight control must not be attempted by any drastic cut down of normal meals as this may affect the growth of the baby. The key factor is to be very, very strict about fatty food consumption. 3-4 tsp oil may be used for cooking. Apart from this no additional butter, ghee, mayonnaise must be touched. All fried foods, snacks, pickles and papad must be avoided. Nuts, coconut chutney, bakery items, chocolates, ice creams and Indian sweets must be avoided. Aerated drinks and alcohol will shoot up the sugar.

The diet is best to be based on high fiber cereals like whole wheat items, oats, ragi, cornflakes etc. rice, idli, dosa, rava, semia, noodles, pasta are all refined cereals with a very high glycemic index which will cause the sugar to rise rapidly so keep this at a minimum. Try to make sure that dinner is always phulka (dry roti) or whole wheat or multigrain bread. If you eat rice try to have it only at lunch along with a roti and add a lot of raw salad so that the fiber in the roti and salad keep the sugar levels down. Make sure you eat a salad with dinner too. Try to eat only apple and oranges, musambi and pomegranate as fruits as they have plenty of fiber. If at all you eat a sweet, eat only a little and eat it along with a meal, never alone, between meals on an empty stomach as they shoot the sugar higher when eaten alone. Avoid sweets and deserts as far as possible.

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