(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Number of women developing diabetes during pregnancy is increasing alarmingly. Nearly 22 out of 100 pregnant women are suffering from Gestational Diabetes (GDM) worldwide, said Dr Rekha Patidar, Specialist Gynaecologist, Zulekha Hospital, Dubai.
During pregnancy a number of hormones are produced which allow extra glucose and nutrients in blood to pass to the fetus so that it can grow.
In order to cope with the increased amount of glucose in blood, body should produce insulin (hormone) that helps body cells in utilizing glucose.
Some women cannot produce enough insulin in pregnancy to utilise the glucose or their body cells are more resistant to insulin. This results in gestational diabetes
Any pregnant woman can develop this condition but some are at high risk.
Being overweight is the most common cause
If women have GDM in previous pregnancy, she has higher risk of GDM in future pregnancies
Women who had delivered baby with weight more than four kilogrammes
Family 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 and 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 the earliest/first prenatal visit.
Undetected or not effectively managed, GDM can cause serious problems for the mother and the baby.
First step in managing GDM is modifying diet and exercise. However some may still need medication. It is important to consult endocrinologist/dietician/or diabetic educator to assess her diet and advise her on healthy diet.
Eat regular and healthy balanced diet which includes food with high nutrition and fibers, low fat and calories, such as fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains. Exercise is equally important as it lower blood sugar by increasing effect of insulin on cells. In some women diet and exercise may not be sufficient to effectively control GDM and they need oral medication or insulin injections.
In most women sugar levels return to normal after delivery. However they are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in future. Therefore they should keep checking sugar level at regular intervals for rest of their life.