Management Strategies for Gestational Diabetes

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Nurse getting the blood of patient

Pregnancy is generally the happiest moment in most couples’ romantic lives. One of the issues that could dampen this happy period, however, is gestational diabetes mellitus or gestational diabetes as it is commonly known. The condition develops between the 24th and 28th gestation week and is manifested by abnormally high sugar levels. It is characterized by excessive urination and thirst, blurred vision and fatigue.

Without the expertise found at a diabetes management clinic in American Fork, it is easy to miss a gestational diabetes diagnosis. This is because the symptoms of the condition closely mirror those of healthy pregnancies. Screening for diabetes at 24-28 weeks gestation is hence recommended. Initial glucose challenge and follow-up glucose tolerance tests are some of the standard screening tests for the condition.

The following are some of the management strategies a diabetes expert might recommend for gestational diabetes.

Healthy Diet

Your diet will be one of the cornerstones in gestational diabetes management. A healthy diet comprises whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and foods with high calorie and nutrition content and low calorie and fat. There is, however, no single meal plan that works for all women with gestational diabetes. As such, your doctor will recommend working with a dietician to create a customized meal plan for you. This will be based on your budget, food preferences, current and pre-pregnancy weights, and blood sugar levels.

Exercise

Exercise

Physical activity has a crucial role in lowering your blood sugar levels since it stimulates your body to use glucose cells for energy. It will also increase the sensitivity of your body’s cells to insulin while decreasing the discomforts of pregnancy including cramps, constipation, insomnia and back pain. Exercise for the management of gestational diabetes, however, should be moderate to avoid the induction of premature labor.

Medication

If diet and exercise do not sufficiently control your blood sugar levels, drugs are the next course of action. More often than not, doctors prescribe insulin injections. This is because insulin is more useful for the optimal control of your sugar levels and some oral medications might not be safe for your baby.

Close Baby Monitoring

One of the critical elements of optimal gestational diabetes management is ensuring the well-being of your unborn child. As such, close monitoring of the baby at all times through ultrasounds and other tests is essential. If your baby does not come before or on your due date, your doctor might recommend induction of labor. This is because delivery past your due date might result in several issues for you and your child.

Gestational diabetes was not so prevalent in the past but currently affects about 10% of pregnant women. Though it can affect anyone, women above 25 years old, with a personal or family diabetes history and with excess pre-pregnancy weight, are at a heightened risk of contracting gestational diabetes. Left unchecked, the condition might cause low blood sugar, preterm birth and excessive birth weight in your baby. Additionally, gestational diabetes increases your risk of pre-eclampsia and hypertension during pregnancy and type 2 diabetes after delivery.

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