Pregnancy is something every woman looks forward to! A beginning to a beautiful phase of motherhood, pregnancy is indeed the best phase in the life of a woman. But as they say, nothing comes easy. Pregnancy can also cause a lot of changes in the body of the woman and these changes can further induce several associated problems. Gestational diabetes is one such problem. However, you don’t need to worry because here we will discuss the prevention measures for gestational diabetes.
First and foremost, what is gestational diabetes? This is a temporary condition which occurs only during pregnancy, where the blood sugar levels are shot up and are higher than normal. This can lead to problems for both the mother and the baby. It is painful to know, that this can cause many life-threatening problems for the unborn child if left untreated.
The good news is that there are prevention measures to avoid or minimize the risk of gestational diabetes. Although, nothing comes with a guarantee, as every person has a different body and reacts differently but a good lifestyle and healthy diet never harms anyone!
Prevention Measures for Gestational Diabetes
Let us embark on this journey, to minimize and prevent gestational diabetes. Following are the prevention measures for gestational diabetes:
- Understand risk factors
The first step here is to understand the associated risk factors. Getting hold of the family history is a good idea, to begin with, talk to your parents and close family members and check if anyone has type 2 diabetes. The risk of getting gestational diabetes increases if anyone in the immediate family has diabetes.
- Check your weight
The next step is to check your weight. Yes! If you are overweight or obese, the chances increase manifold. Also, your age matters, if you are above 25years of age or older, the chances swell.
Ethnicity is also of importance, as certain races have more tendencies to acquire this disease, a talk to the doctor, will help understanding this aspect better.
- Meet the doctor
A physical checkup is also important and an ultrasound scan will help determine if you have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), a fertility condition, which is also a risk factor associated with gestational diabetes.
- Manage stress level
One should work towards managing some factors which further amplify the risk of gestational diabetes is the next step. Stress is given considering the hectic lifestyle these days! High stress levels also play an important role, in acquiring this dreaded disease, so manage the stress levels, through meditation, yoga or indulging in any hobby of choice. Relieving stress is one of the great prevention measures for gestational diabetes.
- Quit smoking
As you already know, smoking magnifies several health problems and the risk factor increases multiple times. There are several options available, which help you quit this habit, talking to the doctor, will help in understanding ways to get rid of this.
- Curb your drinking habits
Alcohol has a direct impact on the blood sugar levels, making them either go very high or very low. Therefore, do not over-drink, a single drink a day is more than enough and choosing not to drink at all is the wisest option if you are looking for prevention measures for gestational diabetes.
- Diet plan
A good diet plan in consultation with the doctor clubbed with moderate exercise is one of the wisest prevention measures for gestational diabetes:
- Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables; including whole grains, probiotics and fibers in the diet is mandatory.
- Reducing the intake of carbohydrates and sugar is also highly recommended.
- Nondairy products and lean fats can be included in your meals.
The most important of all, eat only as much as the body requires.
A regular exercise regime is the best way to deal with any disease. Starting moderate exercise at least three times a week can help a long way to control those rising levels of sugar. Therefore is one of the better prevention measures for gestational diabetes as it boosts overall health too.
- You don’t have to hit the gym or start heavy exercises, a simple walk, or cycling around or simply brisk walking is good enough.
- Any sort of physical activity for at least of 30 minutes goes a long way in the deterrence of gestational diabetes.
Planning goes a long way! Plan before you decide to get pregnant
Prevention measures for gestational diabetes are assisted through better planning. Following are the planning steps you can consider:
- Talk to your doctor, if you feel you have any of the above-associated risk factors.
- The doctor will assess your case and help prepare a plan wherein you can curtail the risk factors.
- A blood sugar test before conceiving can be helpful to know your sugar levels well in advance, and this can be used as a baseline.
- If you are overweight, plan a diet and exercise schedule to get rid of the excess fat in the body, before you get pregnant.
- Once you get pregnant, consult the doctor early and as per his advice get a test done. Since gestational diabetes does not show any specific symptoms, a blood test is a good idea to get clarity.
- Usually, a gestational diabetes test is conducted for all pregnant ladies in their second trimester, but the doctor can ask you to take this test a little early if required.
- A glucose challenge test helps determine gestational diabetes. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is mandatory for the entire period of pregnancy.
- Most women with gestational diabetes manage the blood sugar levels with appropriate exercise and diet.
- Oral medicines are recommended sometimes, along with diet to control the sugar levels.
- Insulin treatment is necessary, only when the sugar levels do not seem to be controlled by medicines, diet, and exercise.
- With good care and necessary precautions, this condition can be easily controlled.
- After delivery, gestational diabetes settles down on its own and the sugar levels return to normal, but the doctor can check up to 12 weeks after delivery to be sure that the levels have come back to normal.
- Women with gestational diabetes are prone to develop type 2 diabetes in later life, so a test every three years is a good idea.
Gestational Diabetes Prevention: Takeaway
The journey towards prevention measures for gestational diabetes starts much before pregnancy. Like they say, prevention is always better than cure! It is the best time to assess the risk factors, talk to a doctor and chalk out a complete diet plan. Moderate exercise at least three times a week proves to be beneficial. Most important of all, do not stress, gestational diabetes can be prevented!