(MENAFN -Khaleej Times) Gestational diabetes poses risk to pregnant women and unborn baby.
The number of women developing diabetes during their pregnancy is increasing alarmingly, according to Dr Rekha Patidar, Specialist Gynaecologist, Zulekha Hospital, Dubai.
Nearly 22 out of 100 pregnant women are suffering from Gestational Diabetes (GDM). It poses risk to pregnant women and unborn baby. Understanding Gestational Diabetes and proper treatment can save mums to be and their unborn baby from complications especially from future risk of diabetes and obesity in unborn babies.
Gestational diabetes is a type that affects women during her pregnancy. Women affected by GDM have higher than normal levels of glucose (sugar) in their blood.
During pregnancy, a number of hormones are produced which allows the extra glucose and nutrients in blood to pass to the fetus (unborn baby) so it can grow. In order to cope with the increased amount of glucose in blood, body should produce insulin (hormone) that helps in utilising glucose by body cells. Some women cannot produce enough insulin in pregnancy to utilise the glucose by the cells or their body cells are more resistant to insulin thus they are affected by GDM. Any pregnant women can develop this condition but some are at high risk.
Being overweight is most common cause. If women have GDM in previous pregnancy, she has higher risk of GDM in further pregnancies.Women who had delivered baby with weight more than four kgFamily history of diabetes
GDM often does not have any warning signs and symptoms. However, high blood sugar can cause some symptoms such as being thirsty, having dry mouth, needing to urinate frequently, recurrent infections like thrush.
Usually it is diagnosed by routine screening test between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. However, those who are at high risk need screening at earliest possible / first prenatal visit.
Undetected or not effectively managed GDM can cause serious problems for the mother and the baby. It can cause rapid growth and large baby, need to induce labour, difficult deliveries, increases chance of needing cesarean section. Large baby may suffer injuries during birth. High blood sugar in mother increases risk of preterm delivery and even stillbirths. After birth such babies find difficulty in maintaining normal glucose levels in blood and will have low sugars which in turn can lead to seizures. In addition, babies born to gestational diabetic mother are at higher risk of developing obesity and diabetes later on.
First step in managing GDM is modifying diet and exercise and it will be enough to control GDM for many women. However some may still need medication. Do not skip meals. Eat regular and healthy balanced diet which includes food with high nutrition and fibers, low fat and calories, such as fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains. Type of exercise will be advised by your doctor after assessing your overall condition.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle (regular exercise, healthy diet, pre-pregnancy weight reduction) can lower the risk. —