5 Must-Follow Tips to Tackle Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy – Gestational diabetes may lead to many complications if blood sugar is not managed correctly. Below are five tips pregnant woman with gestational diabetes should follow.

Being pregnant is the most extraordinary phase in any woman’s life. However, many women experience physical lows while celebrating this high point in their lives. Gestational diabetes is one of several low points that typically manifests in the third trimester and is characterised by elevated blood glucose levels which had been previously normal.

Dr Priyanka Gupta Manglik, a practising gynaecologist at Dr Ram Manohar Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, says, Gestational diabetes is generally caused by the mother’s inability to produce enough insulin to overcome resistance levels during pregnancy. Its common symptoms are excessive thirst, hunger, weight, vaginal infections, or urination. Taking a professional opinion is essential to avoid the child being affected by it, even if it is usually a transient health condition.”

If blood sugar is not managed correctly, a pregnant woman with gestational diabetes may experience complications. The four major issues encountered are an extra-large baby, C-section, high blood pressure (Preeclampsia), and low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia), cautions Dr Gupta.

5 Must-Follow Tips to Tackle Gestational Diabetes

Dr Gupta says, “Getting your body in the best possible shape to have a baby before and after conception is the easiest way to have a healthy pregnancy.” To do this, she suggest pregnant women to follow the five tips given below:

1. Take Healthy Diet

Eating healthy during pregnancy supports the development & growth of your baby. Diabetic pregnant women must adhere to a diet similar to the standard pregnancy diet. When too much-processed sugar is consumed, or carbohydrate-rich foods are not properly spaced throughout the day, blood sugar levels frequently spike. So, it is more important for women with gestational diabetes to maintain a balance of the three macronutrients, namely carbohydrates, proteins and fats, to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Foods for gestational diabetes:

[A] Carbohydrates

You can include the following healthy carbohydrate foods in your diet if you have gestational diabetes:

Whole grains: Include whole grain cereals like oats, millet, barley, quinoa, and sorghum in your gestational diabetes diet plan. They contain a lot of fibre and have a low glycemic index. They promote healthy bowel movements and, in the long run, help reduce your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

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Leafy vegetables and legumes: Including vegetables such as beans, peas, lentils, corn, spinach, lettuce, in a gestational diabetes diet has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels while offering vital nutrition to you and your baby for healthy development.

Brown rice: It’s a good substitute for white rice because it has a lower glycemic index and more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than white rice. Include moderate amounts of brown rice in your diet for lunch or dinner.

Fruits with low sugar content: Some fruits, such as lemon, orange, guava, and green apples, can help you meet your daily vitamin C requirements.

[B] Protein

Pregnant women should consume at least two to three portions of protein-rich foods per day. You can include the following excellent protein sources in your vegetarian diet plan for gestational diabetes:

Dal Sprouts: These can include moong dal sprouts and white chana sprouts, both of which are high in fibre and protein.

Paneer (or cottage cheese): Paneer is known to aid in weight loss, promote bone health, and is recommended for diabetes treatment.

Lentils: Lentils are an excellent protein-rich food to include in your diet because they are not only low in calories but also high in folate and iron.

Yoghurt & curds: It contains beneficial bacteria that promote good gut health. They help with digestion and are a good source of protein.

Soya chunks: Soy contains isoflavones, which help lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Eggs: Eggs are a great low-carb food that can be included in a non-vegetarian gestational diabetes diet plan. While the egg white contains more protein, the yolk contains healthy fats that do not affect blood sugar levels. They have a very low glycemic index and are excellent diabetic foods.

Poultry: Another recommended food for patients with gestational diabetes is chicken. Being high in protein and low in fat, if prepared correctly, is an excellent addition to the diet chart for gestational diabetes.

Fish: In general, fish and seafood are high in protein and low in fat. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which may boost brain health during pregnancy.

[C] Fats

Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and peanuts: Nuts contain essential proteins and fats that promote heart health. They are excellent snacks for people with gestational diabetes because they are low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats, protein, and fibre.

Seeds such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds: Seeds are high in healthy fats and make excellent snacks for gestational diabetes patients. You can eat them raw or roast them (without oil) for added crunch.

Olive Oil: Olive oil, which is high in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, has been shown to have many health benefits when used in moderation, including reducing chronic inflammation, which is linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Avocado: Another fantastic fruit high in healthy fats and all the vitamins required for good health. It is a low-carb food with a low glycemic index that has been shown to make people feel fuller for longer periods without consuming unhealthy calories.

2. Exercise Regularly

Another way to keep blood sugar under control is to exercise, it positively helps in food intake regulation, says Dr Gupta.

Do exercise regularly during and after pregnancy after consulting with a doctor. Participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days per week. This could include brisk walking, swimming, or actively engaging in play with children.

  • Stretching for 5 to 10 minutes before exercise is recommended to warm up the muscles and reduce the risk of ligament injury or muscle cramping.
  • Aerobic exercise is best for controlling blood sugar levels. This type of exercise includes walking, stationary cycling, swimming or aqua-exercising, low-impact aerobics, and other exercises that use large muscle groups for an extended period of time.
  • It is recommended that you exercise for 15-60 minutes every day. Less frequent exercise (3 4 days per week) can also help with blood sugar control and fitness, but blood sugars may be more challenging to control on rest days.

3. Check Blood Sugar Levels Regularly

During pregnancy, the body’s need for energy changes which can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate drastically. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly check the body’s blood sugar levels using specialised sensors and pumps, a straightforward finger-prick method, tracking apps, and possibly before and after meals.

4. Take Insulin, If Required

A woman with gestational diabetes may occasionally need to take insulin. If your doctor prescribes insulin, follow the prescription’s instructions to help keep your blood sugar under control.

5. Get Tested After Pregnancy

Diabetes should be tested every 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born and every 1 to 3 years. Most women with gestational diabetes recover quickly after giving birth. Type 2 diabetes occurs if high blood sugar levels persist for long. Even if diabetes resolves after the baby is born, half of all pregnant women develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Therefore, it is essential for a woman who has had gestational diabetes to continue exercising and eating a healthy diet after pregnancy to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.

Dr Gupta concludes, “Close blood sugar monitoring, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and maintaining the correct weight will all positively contribute to the outcome of the pregnancy and the health of the mother and her baby now and in the future.”

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