The most special and memorable experience for a women is bearing her child. But apart from the numerous memories of a lifetime, pregnancy comes with its own share of do’s and don’ts to ensure the mother and the child stays safe and healthy. While the hormones are playing pranks with your mood and food cravings, they may just go a little overboard and mess with insulin in your cells and spike your blood sugar levels.
Although it is important to take care of all the aspects of your and your child’s health during pregnancy, being aware about the risk of developing Diabetes during this time is also a necessity. Called Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, the Diabetes that creeps into your life during pregnancy can be smartly managed just by being a little proactive.
To be able to take control of Diabetes during pregnancy and not let it create any health complications during this memorable phase of your life, let us take a look at the following tips and help you experience a smooth pregnancy.
1. Blood Sugar Monitoring
As advised by gynecologists, close monitoring of gestational diabetes mellitus is the only way to understand your body’s response towards the efforts being made to control it. The ideal and desirable levels range as follows:
- Less than 95 mg/dL (fasting)
- Less than 120 mg/dL (two hour postprandial – PP), and finally
- One hour postprandial levels should be less than 130 mg/dL.
A Diabetes educator is the best person to help you monitor and understand the fluctuations (if any) and reasons for the same. You can also seek guidance about the changes required in your lifestyle, especially the diet to achieve consistently normal readings.
2. Watch The World Differently – Retinopathy
The most common side effect of Diabetes and increased blood sugar levels is when your eyes begin to show symptoms of Diabetic retinopathy. One may experience blurred and distorted vision which worsens with time. Thus in order to ensure you continue to see the best of everything, get your eyes tested through a retinopathy test well in advance to know if the harmful effects of unchecked blood sugar levels are damaging your precious eyes.
3. Walk Around Confidently – Foot Exam
Amidst all the other things to be taken care of, it is easy to miss certain silent signs your feet may be showing. While it is normal for your feet to enlarge in size a little and your shoe size becomes a size or two bigger than before, an even more threatening side effect of gestational diabetes mellitus is your feet becoming dead, which is absence of any sensation in your feet – technically known as diabetic neuropathy.
A regular foot exam is the best way to assess the status of the nerves and know in advance if there is any risk of ulceration. Also remember not to wear tight footwear and ensure your feet are dry by allowing fresh air contact.
4. Consume Carbohydrates
Not just you, your baby also need these! An ideal intake of carbohydrates for an average person should be around 135 grams daily, which must be increased to 175 grams during pregnancy. Since you may find it difficult to control morning blood sugar during pregnancy, it is a good idea to spread your carb consumption over lunch and dinner. Put those cravings for junk to rest by binging on whole grains, fruits (preferably without peeling), veggies, dairy products etc.
5. Don’t Forget Your Medicines
You may require additional medication to artificially control your blood sugar. Sometimes an insulin is also prescribed and hence it is extremely important to follow the course of the medicine and insulin to prevent any damage to the precious life that you are carrying. Don’t worry, insulin have been found to be safe during pregnancy.
6. Sweet Colas Are Not As Sweet
Say NO to juices, colas and other aerated drinks as they directly increase blood sugar. You surely don’t want to consume a bottle full of toxins when you are nurturing another life within. While water intake is a good substitute, low-fat milk is equally good.
7. Get Quality Sleep
Sleep is essential for both you and your baby. Lack of sleep contributes to the risk of diabetes and snoring is an indication of poor blood control and gestational diabetes. Talk to your diabetes educator about your sleeping patterns.
8. Exercise Regularly
Sufficient physical activity is essential for a healthy pregnancy and its importance increases with gestational diabetes. This not only improves glucose metabolism, but also helps you feel lighter. But opt for safe exercises like water aerobics, or simple walking etc. and don’t indulge in physically exerting ones.
9. Research Breastfeeding
Let breast milk be the only source of food for your little one as it is good for women with gestational diabetes mellitus and their baby. Exclusive breastfeeding helps keep blood sugar levels and weight of the mother in check and even otherwise improves their child’s health in future.
10 .Don’t Allow Another Onset
Gestational diabetes mellitus tends to subside after the pregnancy but increases the risks of another onset during the lifetime of women. Gestational diabetes can also be repeated during another pregnancy. Hence if you have had gestational diabetes during your pregnancy, get yourself tested every six to 12 weeks postpartum. If found negative; it is good to get screened for diabetes every three years. Also, always let your doctors know about your sensitivity to diabetes in future.
Pregnancy is a very personalised and special experience. While the risk of developing gestational diabetes cannot really be minimised, being aware about the causes and risk factors and following smart guidelines post the onset is a good idea to control the damage it can bring along.
Have a Happy Motherhood!