Sweet pregnacy without sugar! Gestational Diabetes

Find out what gestational diabetes is and how it will not stress you out during your pregnancy.

Pregnancy is one of the sweetest days of a woman’s life. Unfortunately, for some women, about 4 in 100, this period is a little stressful, since they face the problem of high blood sugar, (gestational diabetes) usually only temporarily. Although, according to experts, blood sugar levels are affected to some degree in all pregnant women, only 2-4% meet the criteria to be considered a major problem.

Before you get stressed, learn how to diagnose and, if necessary, regulate gestational diabetes. Although it is a serious condition that you should not overlook, when treated properly and under the guidance of experts, it can not create serious problems, neither for you nor for your baby!

What is gestational diabetes?

It is a condition that usually occurs around the beginning of the third trimester and usually disappears after childbirth, as blood sugar levels return to normal.

This is because, as the placenta develops, insulin resistance increases. In most women, the body deals with the problem by producing more insulin. In others, however, the pancreas fails to respond and so the sugar rises more than normal and develops gestational diabetes.

The necessary examination

All women, regardless of whether they are at risk, have a history, etc., should have a test called a glucose tolerance test between the 23rd and 26th week of pregnancy. For this examination they must fast the previous night and for at least 12 hours. 3 days before the “fast”, they must consume at least 200 gr. carbohydrates per day, corresponding to 1 serving of cereal at breakfast, 1 serving of pasta at lunch, 3 fruits and 2 slices of bread.

They also have to stay in the microbiological laboratory for 3 hours in order to take 4 blood samples:

  • First, fasting blood sugar is measured
  • Then, they consume 100 gr. Of glucose (dissolved in a glass of water). Their blood sugar will be measured again with 3 blood samples after 1, 2 and 3 hours respectively.

When there is a problem

In order to assume that there is gestational diabetes, the test must show at least two measurements greater than the following normal:

  • Fasting glucose until 95 mg/dl
  • In 60΄ until 180 mg/dl
  • After 120΄ until 155 mg/dl

  • In 180΄ until 140 mg/dl

If we find at least two measurements below 65mg / dl, it is a prediabetic condition (due to excessive insulin secretion). You need to consult a diabetologist to give you instructions (for instance smaller and more frequent meals).

Attention!

Some gynecologists recommend the mini- blood sugar curve (test with less glucose and less blood draws), but this is a wrong practice. All women should make the blood sugar curve with 100 gr. glucose and 4 blood samples.

How it is treated

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you should consult a diabetologist and dietitian and according to their instructions you can treat it:

  • With proper diet, mild exercise and regular blood sugar measurements.
  • In some cases you may need to take insulin, as antidiabetic medicines are contraindicated in pregnancy.
  • You should also have frequent ultrasounds to monitor the baby’s growth and the amount of amniotic fluid, which tends to rise when the blood sugar is not well regulated.
2 months after giving birth, the mother should repeat the blood sugar test.

Women who are at higher risk are:

  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Have history of glucose tolerance.
  • Had low blood sugar (sugar) in a recent urine test.

  • Are obese or have gained many pounds in pregnancy.

  • Are older than 25 years.

  • Had the same problem in a previous pregnancy.

  • Have given birth to big babies.

  • Miscarried (before the 20th week).
  • Had an increased amount of amniotic fluid in a previous pregnancy

The diet that will keep diabetes away from you

  • Lots of fruit and vegetables to get their vitamins, but mainly their fibers.

  • Whole grain foods, because they will fill you up without raising your blood sugar that much.

  • Dairy, low in fat.

  • Olive oil, but not a lot, because it has many calories.

  • The essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) from fish, nuts, etc.

  • Non fat meat and chicken.

  • Food with simple sugars (sweets, juice, white bread, pastries), because they raise blood glucose levels and contribute a lot to the development of gestational diabetes.

  • Seed oils, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats found in standard foods, crisps, biscuits, croissants and French fries.

  • Canned or pre-fried and pre-cooked foods.

  • Potatoes, spaghetti and rice, which can raise blood sugar levels, especially when consumed as a main meal and not with some protein (meat, fish, chicken).

Can there be complications?

If the doctors diagnoses gestational diabetes early, regulate and monitor it, the pregnancy can continue normally. Otherwise, problems may arise:

  • In pregnant women (eg increased amniotic fluid, hypertension, preeclampsia or eclampsia).
  • At birth (these babies are very big and need to have a caesarean section).
  • In the fetus (eg to develop hypoglycemia immediately after birth, pulmonary insufficience).

Normal delivery or Caesarean section?

Usually, gynecologists choose the scheduled cesarean section in the 38th week of pregnancy, in case the mother has gestational diabetes.

We thank Dr. Rania Zacharopoulou, physician specialized in diabetes, and Mr. Harry Demosthenopoulos, clinical dietitian-nutritionist.

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