Pregnancy, a miraculous journey filled with joy and anticipation, can also bring health challenges. Gestational diabetes, a condition that develops during pregnancy, deserves attention because it poses potential risks to both the mother and the unborn child. Gestational diabetes presents challenges during pregnancy, requiring heightened vigilance and proactive management.
By prioritizing early detection, consistent care and lifestyle adjustments, expectant mothers can navigate the condition with increased confidence, protecting their own health and the well-being of their precious babies.
Dr Smita B Kalappa, MBBS MS (OBG) DNB, Fellowship in Gynecological Endoscopy (ICOG), Apollo Cradle and Children’s Hospital, Jayanagar, Banglor, shares how gestational diabetes can affect expectant mothers.
Understanding Gestational Diabetes:
Gestational diabetes occurs when hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to insulin resistance, which causes blood sugar levels to rise. Although it often resolves after delivery, its presence during pregnancy requires careful monitoring and management.
Effects on expectant mothers:
1. Increased risk of complications: Gestational diabetes increases the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery. It can contribute to high blood pressure (preeclampsia), premature birth and the need for cesarean delivery.
2. Effects on Maternal Health: Expectant mothers with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. The condition acts as a precursor, signaling the need for proactive steps after pregnancy to maintain optimal health.
3. Challenges for the baby: Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can affect the baby’s health, leading to excess birth weight (macrosomia), birth trauma during delivery, and increased risk of obesity and diabetes later in life.
Management and Prevention:
Early detection through routine screening is crucial. Mothers with obesity, family history of diabetes or over 25 years of age should be screened for gestational diabetes. Regular prenatal care, a balanced diet, exercise and blood sugar monitoring are the mainstays of managing this condition.
Advice and support:
Healthcare professionals play an important role in guiding expectant mothers with gestational diabetes. Customized management plans, including dietary recommendations, blood sugar monitoring, and in some cases insulin therapy, are developed to ensure optimal maternal and fetal health.
Empowerment through Awareness:
Awareness acts as a powerful tool to reduce the effects of gestational diabetes. Expectant mothers should be actively involved in their healthcare journey, understand the implications of the condition and adhere to recommended lifestyle changes and treatment strategies.