AS fantastic a travel as pregnancy could be for many women, it can be tough and fraught with numerous complications. Dr Keisha Buchanan, obstetrician-gynaecologist in Icon Medical Centre, states that among the most common life-threatening conditions developed during pregnancy is gestational diabetes.
“Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is first diagnosed with pregnancy. This is a condition in which an organ called the pancreas has trouble regulating blood glucose which tends to be elevated, [and poses a severe threat to the mother and foetus if left uncontrolled],” Dr Buchanan said.
She explained that gestational diabetes could have been pre requisite or may develop later in the pregnancy, typically around the past month.
An global study on gestational diabetes led by Professor of Metabolism and Nutrition in the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University at Chicago, said that gestational diabetes also differs from routine diabetes in this time the pancreas isn’t at fault.
The study showed that in the center of gestational diabetes is your placenta, [which joins the mother to the infant and is the primary link for nourishment from mother to foetus]. According to the study, the hormones produced by the placenta interfere with the body’s usual reaction to insulin, a condition which is termed insulin resistance. And while the pancreas in response works to raise the supply of insulin to counter the insulin resistance, it is normally not enough, leading to abnormally substantial levels of glucose in the female’s body. This could cause several other complications for the child and mother.
That’s the reason why Dr Buchanan stresses the importance of controlling blood glucose levels, whether diabetes develops before or during pregnancy.
“Pre-pregnancy control is vital to reduce the danger of the embryo being negatively impacted and to prevent the incidence of birth defects such as spinal cord defects. High blood glucose levels during pregnancy can cause foetal growth restriction and smaller babies. There is a greater risk of premature birth and Caesarean sections, and also a greater chance of stillbirth,” Dr Buchanan warned.
In circumstances where diabetes develops later in pregnancy, this might raise the danger of big babies, stillbirth, traumatic birth for mom and infant, and much more Caesarean sections. Significantly, Dr Buchanan notes one third of these women will develop diabetes later in life, and have children who are also in a greater risk of diabetes and obesity.
“Managing diabetes is very important, and so you must always aim to maintain a good blood glucose level. This is sometimes done through exercise, close adherence to a diabetic diet, and use of medication such as insulin if needed to maintain good glucose levels. Losing weight before pregnancy, if the woman is overweight or obese, can also help reduce diabetes,” Dr Buchanan advised.
She warned that some girls are at a greater risk of diabetes by virtue of the fact they have a close relative such as their mom who is diabetic, they have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, are obese, or are being treated with steroids. As such, it is important for them to constantly aim for a wholesome way of life.
For girls who fear their gestational diabetes scare could potentially cause full size diabetes, there are a number of approaches to stave off the condition.
“Fortunately, girls who develop diabetes within their pregnancies can do a lot to stop diabetes later in life. Within the first week after ingestion, diabetes will completely resolve for most women. Hence, changes in the life span for example regular exercise (three or more occasions per week), an avoidance of starchy, higher sugar content and processed foods will help prevent diabetes afterwards and help to stop it in future pregnancies,” Dr Buchanan advised.
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