Gestational Diabetes FAQs – Facts and Myths

FAQ – 1: How does gestational diabetes occur? Will it affect my baby?

Answer:

During the second half of pregnancy, there is a rapid increase in the growth of the baby. To cope up with this, your body makes your sugar freely available, in order to be transferred to your baby through the placenta. After the transfer, there is always some excess sugar left in your bloodstream, which causes a strain on your systems. Most of the times the insulin in your body is able to overcome the strain & get rid of the sugar in your bloodstream. However, if your insulin is unable to deal with this strain, you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes & require medications and/or dietary as well as lifestyle changes, to get your sugar in control.

gestational diabetes - myths andf facts

When you take appropriate measures to keep your sugar under control, your baby will not be affected by it. However, uncontrolled gestational diabetes can lead to a baby being born overweight along with a high risk of developing diabetes in his adult life.

Read More – Diet During Pregnancy – First Trimester

FAQ 2: I don’t have a history of diabetes in my family. Do I still need to be tested for gestational diabetes?

Answer: Yes.

Any pregnant woman can be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Those who have a history of diabetes in family are more prone, but women without any history can get it during their pregnancy. A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits are some of the prime reasons for gestational diabetes in women without a family history. It is always beneficial to ask your doctor for the gestational diabetes test around the week 28 (seventh month) of your pregnancy.

FAQ 3: If I am diagnosed with gestational diabetes, how will my post-delivery life be affected by it?

Answer:

Gestational diabetes itself is a temporary phenomenon. Almost 99% of the women diagnosed with it (with or without a family history) don’t have it anymore after delivery. However, women who have been gestational diabetes are suggested to have a weak metabolic control under stress. They are therefore more prone to developing diabetes at a later stage in life- if they continue to strain their bodies due to unhealthy lifestyle/eating habits and/or an excessive increase in body weight.

Read More – Diet For Second Trimester of Pregnancy for Indian Women: What to Eat and What to Avoid

FAQ 4: I already have diabetes. Do I still need to be tested for gestational diabetes?

Answer: Yes.

Even if you have diabetes and are on medication for it, gestational diabetes changes your metabolism all over again. You may need to modify or change your existing medications. Therefore, you need to test for it and consult your doctor regarding your medications.

FAQ 5: Will I be necessarily put on insulin injections if I am diagnosed with gestational diabetes?

Answer: No.

The requirement of insulin will depend upon the severity of gestational diabetes. Therefore, an early detection (around week 28 of your pregnancy) is important. After detection, most doctors prefer to introduce dietary & lifestyle changes first and then move on to prescribe medications, including insulin injections.

Read More – Diet during Third Trimester – What and What Not?

FAQ 6: What can I do to keep my gestational diabetes in control & have a healthy pregnancy?

Answer:

First & foremost follow your doctor’s instructions regarding any lifestyle/dietary changes. This requires a going against the traditional belief of excessive eating (especially sweets), during pregnancy. Follow a consistent exercise schedule which can be inculcated in your daily routine- this can include a daily walk of 1 hour, or continuing to do basic household chores like simple cooking, cleaning etc. Basically, avoid over-resting and ensure that you give your body some movement throughout the day (this is of course subject to the type of your pregnancy & the requirement of bed rest etc).

If you get your family’s support in following a strict diet & exercise regime, you may not even require any further medications.

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Dr. Madhura Panse

Madhura Panse 

Doctorate in Biochemistry with specialization in pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes.

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