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Gestational Diabetes

Diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). During pregnancy, placenta generates hormones which causes glucose levels to rise in blood and if the body doesn't produce enough insulin to handle this additional glucose, it results in GDM. 

The intention of this post is to create awareness and let you know you are not alone or the first to experience gestational diabetes. 

Just to quote few examples, one of my friends who had gestational diabetes, was able to control her glucose levels just by modifying her diet; my cousin, who was diagnosed in her first trimester, got rid of it completely within a month by following strict diet regimen. In my case, I was diagnosed with GDM in early 2nd trimester. Doctor advised me to follow low glycemic diet and walk at least half an hour, twice a day. In spite of following these, I had to take insulin shots till baby's birth to control the glucose levels. So point to remember is, every person's experience is different.

  • Mother's age, obesity and family history of diabetes are quoted as usual reasons for developing GDM. In certain cases, type 2 diabetes might surface, if it the sugar levels weren't tested before pregnancy.
  • Doctors test blood glucose level along with regular blood tests in the first and second trimesters. In case of any anomalies in the results or any family history, doctor will ask the mother to take glucose tolerance test in the second trimester to check for GDM. 
  • Generally mom's with GDM are told to check their glucose levels 4 times a day (once in the morning i.e., fasting and once 2hrs after breakfast, lunch and dinner) to ensure the level is within control, else suggest modifications to food/ medication.
  • In the womb, the baby produces additional insulin to compensate the increased blood glucose levels of mother with GDM. So the baby might grow bigger in size, leading to birth complications. So doctors will put mothers on regular monitoring, to ensure the baby growth is as expected.
  • Usually, gestational diabetes gets cured automatically after the child's birth. However doctors continue to monitor blood sugar levels after delivery, on a periodic basis to ensure the mother is no longer diabetic. Also, chances are high for such mothers to have GDM in subsequent pregnancies.
  • GDM can be controlled through dietary changes, exercise, lifestyle changes, oral medication and in certain cases insulin shots and mothers can deliver healthy babies. 
To check out the dietary changes I incorporated for controlling my GDM, check out this post.

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