Gestational diabetes, also known as pregnancy diabetes, is a pregnancy condition that can cause anxiety, disappointment, and confusion. Please understand that the condition is not always the mother’s fault. It is not a serious complication as long as it is detected and managed early. GDM, on the other hand, can harm both the mother and the baby if high blood glucose levels are not controlled. As a result, this compilation focuses on the causes, risk factors, and lifestyle interventions that may benefit mothers with gestational diabetes.
What causes pregnancy-related diabetes?
According to the American Diabetes Association, pregnancy diabetes is caused by hormonal influences on how our bodies convert food into energy. Insulin is a hormone that helps break down sugar and transports it to our body cells. It regulates the amount of glucose in the human blood. However, if insulin does not function properly or is insufficient, sugar accumulates in the blood, leading to diabetes. During pregnancy, hormones can disrupt the way insulin works. This is known as insulin resistance, and as a result, it may fail to regulate blood sugar levels properly, resulting in gestational diabetes. Being overweight, having unhealthy eating habits, having pre-existing type 2 diabetes mellitus, and having familial factors may also play a role.
Who is predisposed to gestational diabetes?
There are some risks associated with gestational diabetes. It should be noted that a risk indicates that something is possible but not guaranteed. Most women with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and babies, especially if their condition is detected and properly managed during pregnancy. While many women develop insulin resistance and GDM without any risk factors, gestational diabetes is more common in women who are overweight, over the age of 25, have a diabetic close relative, have a cardiac condition, are inactive, or are of a certain ethnicity. Furthermore, the risk could be enhanced if they previously had GDM or if they had an overweight or stillborn baby.
How can GDM mothers manage their blood sugar levels in addition to their medical care?
Although mothers cannot influence the cellular response to pregnancy hormones, once the condition is identified, they should not panic. In addition to medical management, moms with GDM can always adjust their diet and can exercise to keep their blood sugar levels stable. The medical nutrition therapy dietary modifications primarily include avoiding junk food, processed foods, and sugary drinks, consuming a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat, and attempting to eat smaller, more frequent meals.
Exercise is another healthy measure that encourages the body to use more glucose, potentially lowering blood sugar levels. As a result, GDM mothers can consult with their healthcare provider about developing a safe exercise plan. The plan should be tailored to the mother’s age, fitness level prior to pregnancy, weight, BMI, and overall health.
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