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Gestational diabetes is a condition when pregnant women have high glucose levels and is generally diagnosed at the beginning of the second trimester. Although asymptomatic, gestational diabetes is normally diagnosed during a routine screening through a glucose tolerance blood test. Around 10-20% of pregnant women in India are affected by this condition that usually goes away post child birth. However, it may increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
“Gestational Diabetes (GD) occurs during pregnancy. It can be seen in pregnant women who do not have diabetes before and is detected in the middle of the pregnancy that is between 24 to 28 weeks,” says Dr Aditi Mudaliyar by Dr Aditi Mudaliyar, Consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi Pune.
Gestational Diabetes although goes away after the birth of the child, one should not take it lightly because if not treated it can affect your baby’s health.
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Women who are overweight or obese, the ones who gain a lot of weight during pregnancy or those who have diabetes in their family history are more at risk of gestational diabetes than others.
It so happens that the insulin produced in the pancreas tends to regulate the metabolism of fats and carbs in the body and allows the body to turn sugar into energy. One may get gestational diabetes when hormones from one’s placenta block insulin and prevent one from regulating the increased blood sugar of pregnancy in a proper way. This can also cause hyperglycemia which results in the damage of the nerves, blood vessels, and body organs, says Dr Mudaliyar.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes include tiredness, unusual thirst, weight gain, snoring and frequent urination.
There is no need for panic though as during pregnancy one should stay calm and relaxed and pick the right approach to address the health problem.
A set of dietary changes and exercises recommended by your doctor can keep your blood sugar levels in check. Avoid eating high GI foods and monitor your dietary intake in terms of quantity and what you are eating. One should also not eat a lot of salt to keep blood pressure in check and add more of protein foods to avoid complications.
Here are some diet tips by Dr Mudaliyar that women with gestational diabetes should follow:
* If you are pregnant and diagnosed with gestational diabetes, then include low glycaemic index foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes in your diet to make sure your blood sugar levels do not shoot up and your pregnancy is healthy.
* Avoid foods like sugary drinks, cakes, biscuits, pastries, desserts, sweets, ice-cream, white bread, and fruit juices. Aerated drinks should also be strictly avoided.
* If you have gestational diabetes, you should pay attention to the portion size.
* Choose foods with healthy fats like milk, eggs, seeds, avocado, yogurt and nuts.
* Minimize the intake of salt as it can lead to high blood pressure.
* Include protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, beans, lentils, nuts, chickpeas in your diet.
* Avoid junk, spicy, oily, canned, and processed foods. So namkeens, samosa, chips, chivda, pizza, pasta, Chinese food, and even roadside food should be avoided.
* Take your vitamins and supplements as suggested by the expert.
* Don’t forget to exercise along with following a well-balanced diet.
* Don’t skip meals and do not consume any medication without informing the doctor and as it can be risky for you.
* Try to stick to home-cooked food. Go for freshly prepared soups that do not contain any artificial flavours.
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