I am 26 weeks pregnant and the doctor said that I have gestational diabetes. The sugar level is at 180-190 after 1 hour of eating my food. I am currently testing my sugar level 4 times a day and in the ultrasound shows that the baby is normal as per the gestation week. But I am very worried. Please tell me if the high sugar level will harm my baby in any way or not. Should I follow any particular diet and an exercise routine?
I am sure your gynecologist would have informed you what gestational diabetes (GD) is and how it affects your body. But let’s run over it once again.
GD is a condition when the glucose levels in the expectant mother’s blood are higher than normal. This occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin, which is essential to generate energy for all sorts of activities. This hormone generates energy which helps our muscles and tissues function properly.
During pregnancy, the body works harder to produce more insulin, since it is also needed for the baby’s growth. When adequate insulin is not produced, it will affect your health, leaving you feel tired and weak, and also affect your child’s development. Luckily for you, GD is not a permanent condition, and it often subsides after the birth of the baby.
We are now seeing an increasingly number of expectant mothers suffering from GD. We however reassure them that they can have a healthy baby despite this condition, if they keep their diabetes under control. If the glucose levels are high during pregnancy it could lead to certain complications including premature labor, difficulty during labor and birthing.
There is a chance that even your newborn might suffer from low blood sugar upon birth and will need special care in the initial days. Babies of mothers who suffer from GD have a higher chance of becoming obese or suffering from Type 2 diabetes in their lives. But this can be avoided if you pay closer attention to your health during pregnancy.
Normally, the glucose levels in GD cases should be around 120-140 mg, post dinner or lunch. Coming to your case, the glucose levels you have mentioned are definitely higher that these recommended benchmarks. Nonetheless, that does not mean your GD can’t be controlled.
Your gynecologist is your best guide in this scenario. So, maintain a chart of your glucose levels after testing and discuss this when your visit your doctor next.
Usually, you can control your blood sugar levels by following a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious food, moderate exercise and minimal stress. Ask your doctor to recommend a nutritionist who can help you cut down on unnecessary calories in your meals and replace it with food that will give you health without increasing your glucose levels.
In case your glucose levels continue to be on the higher side, your doctor might recommend that you visit an endocrinologist who will help you keep your blood sugar in check with the use of oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin. You could get a doctor to inject you with these medicines, but these days more patients are comfortable injecting themselves, since it is an easy procedure.
Additionally, your doctor will monitor your baby’s growth with some additional ultrasound scans. These scans, done every four weeks from week 28 to week 36 of your pregnancy, will identify if excess amniotic fluid is building up in the uterus. In case, there is any need for medical intervention, the doctor will advise you accordingly.
Hence, you should adhere to the schedule your doctor draws up for your medications, scans, tests and physical examinations to avoid any issues. Most importantly, do not hesitate to visit your doctor in case you have any doubts or face any discomfort.