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Expert tips for controlling blood glucose level when suffering from gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes can lead to fetal macrosomia (large babies) and concomitant birth trauma and increases the risk of fetal death!

Written by Poorva Chavan |Updated : December 30, 2016 9:54 AM IST

Gestational diabetes in one of the common complications of pregnancy and if not controlled and managed at the right time, it can damage the foetus. Gestational diabetes is the imbalance in blood glucose level during pregnancy and arises after the 24th week of gestation and in most cases subsides after pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can lead to fetal macrosomia (large babies) and concomitant birth trauma and if the fasting blood sugar level exceeds 150mg%, the risk of fetal death increases during the last four to eight weeks of gestation. It also increases the mother's risk of suffering from type-2-diabetes in the future.

Why do women suffer from gestational diabetes?

Dr Shilva, Consultant Gynaecology, Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula, says that to provide glucose and nutrition to the developing foetus, the mother's body develops some degree of insulin resistance. The little bit of insulin resistance is helpful as it provides the foetus with required glucose when the mother experiences short periods of starvation. However, many times this insulin resistance goes out of hand and the mother develops gestational diabetes.

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However, gestational diabetes can be managed easily, and blood glucose level can be controlled. Here are some ways to do it--

Stop eating too much ghee and butter-- Eating for two is a common misconception during pregnancy and in a bid to provide nourishment to the developing foetus, mothers tend to overeat. While ghee and butter are essential for health, eating too much of saturated fats should be avoided if you are suffering from gestational diabetes. Dr Shilva suggests limiting your intake of fried foods and include more unsaturated fats like olive oil and nuts.

Eat at least six small meals--Avoid eating two or three large meals and break your meals into smaller meals that you can eat throughout the day. Eating smaller meals all through the day ensures that there's continuous supply of nourishment to the developing foetus and also prevents your blood glucose level from fluctuating. Follow these diet dos and don'ts during pregnancy and remember to consult your dietician regularly as it will help you in managing gestational diabetes better.

Limit eating sweets--You might crave for sweets after every meal, but Dr Shilva suggests not giving in to the temptation. Eating sweets can raise your blood glucose level suddenly, which can have a catastrophic effect on yours and your baby's health.

Exercise daily: Another common myth is not exercising during pregnancy and not staying physically active. Moderate exercise like walking for up to 40 minutes daily helps in controlling blood glucose levels.

Follow your doctor s advice: Many women are unaware of this condition and they often take gestational diabetes for granted. It is important to be aware of its complications and consult a doctor immediately. Remember that loss of control on blood glucose level can harm you as well as the baby. Follow your doctor's advice to the T and take all the medicines that are prescribed.

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