There is some debate against the use of routine testing to diagnose gestation diabetes, and also a questioning about giving the diagnosis of gestational diabetes as a label on pregnant women. Gestational diabetes is never part of any mom’s plan…. But it is the most common complications of pregnancy, affecting up to 50% of pregnant women. Gestational diabetes is usually defined as diabetes that develops or is first diagnosed during pregnancy. However, it can also define as “insulin resistance” or “carbohydrate intolerance” during pregnancy. In past years, it was thought that the elevated blood sugar levels seen with gestational diabetes only begin to occur in the second and third trimesters, when placental hormones are at their peak and insulin resistance spikes. This is why gestational diabetes is classically screened for around 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.
Some people argue that since all women have some degree of insulin resistance during pregnancy, we shouldn’t make such a big deal out of gestational diabetes. However, there are significant risks to a baby exposed to high blood sugar during development, including:
1. Jaundice to new born
2. Still birth or preterm shoulder
3. Macrosomia (large size baby)
4. Hypoglycemia to new born
5. Congenital defects in baby
So what can you do to prevent or stop insulin resistance and GDM from developing? Monitoring diet and engaging in regular exercise can be the key for women who have low-to-medium level insulin resistance ‘the aim of monitoring your diet is to balance the amount of carbohydrate in your meals. Going for a walk of 30-90 minutes after eating can help lower blood sugar. Medications and insulin is another option when you investigate as high blood sugar levels. Every person responds differently though, so if you have gestational diabetes, please work with your care provider in finding the management plan right for you. Gestational diabetes is not bizarre for a pregnant woman. Proper monitoring, diet and your active involvement is all that needed. It’s all about your will power, not about your fear.