Most women with gestational diabetes deliver normal babies. However, if you have high levels of blood sugar, you have to manage it properly. If you do not control the gestational diabetes, it can cause problems for both the mother as well as the baby.
How does gestational diabetes affect the baby?
Gestational diabetes can cause serious problems if it remains untreated. If your blood sugar levels remain elevated during pregnancy, too much glucose ends up in the baby’s blood. In order to process the extra sugar in the blood, the pancreas of the baby needs to produce more insulin. Too much blood sugar and insulin can make the baby put on excess weight. Thus, gestational diabetes can lead to macrosomia, a condition in which the baby grows very large.
If you have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy and labour, it can also cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) in the baby after delivery. It is a situation in which the baby develops low sugar levels. This is because the body of the baby produces an excess amount of insulin in response to the mother’s excess glucose levels.
If gestational diabetes goes untreated, the heart function of the baby could be affected as well, and the baby can also have breathing problems.
Lastly, babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes can develop type 2 diabetes later in life and are also at risk of obesity later.
How to manage gestational diabetes to prevent any complications for the baby?
The following recommendations must be followed in order to prevent any complications for the foetus:
- Nutritional management shall include meal planning, avoiding food with a high glycemic index, weight control, carbohydrate counting, losing weight if obese, diet education, and nutritional counselling.
- Maintain a healthy weight and BMI.
- Regularly measure your blood glucose level.
- Get your dosage and time of injections according to your meals, activity, and bedtime based on your individualized medication regimen.
- Do not miss your scheduled doctor appointments.
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