Gestational diabetes is essentially Type 2 diabetes as a limited time companion. The expectant mother in gestational diabetes experiences the primary difficulties experienced by many Type 2 patients.
One of the more difficult problems for these moms-to-be is that they are already struggling with a hormone imbalance and the diagnosis of gestational diabetes can be a real emotional blow.
What can be especially hard is that the expectant mother will need to make immediate changes to her diet in order to get back on track.
What happens if the mother avoids remedial action?
- She risks complications moving forward in her pregnancy. She may experience high blood pressure, large baby at birth, birth defects in her child and premature birth.
- Her child may be at risk for the development of diabetes and obesity.
- She may be at risk for the development of type 2 diabetes later in life.
- The delivery may have to be carried out by caesarean section.
Some women may feel as if they can ignore the issue because gestational diabetes typically goes away following the birth of the baby. However, the problems created in those weeks where the baby continues to grow inside the womb can create long-term problems for both mother and child.
What lifestyle changes should the expectant mom look forward to?
One of the primary changes will be sugar abstinence. Your body is producing large amounts of blood glucose. The pancreas that helps your baby develop is often not producing enough insulin. When your blood sugar levels go up it will also go up in your baby. Your child’s pancreas will similarly work to develop insulin, but because of the high glucose levels the baby will store the excess glucose as fat. This is why the baby will likely be larger than you might have expected.
You may not be forced to endure a sugar fast, but the significant reduction in sugar and the addition of complex carbohydrates can help stabilize your own blood glucose and in turn – your baby’s.
A primary care physician will likely suggest a consultation with a registered dietitian that can work to help provide a list of options to help you gain comfort in the changes you will need to make.
Many women experience weight that doesn’t easily go away following pregnancy. It is important for those who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes to work hard at reducing their post pregnancy weight. Losing those pounds may be difficult work, but it could result in keeping type 2 diabetes from developing early in life.
In some cases a preliminary diagnosis of gestational diabetes is revised later. There are those times when a woman’s body expresses diabetes during pregnancy and symptoms remain following the birth. In these cases the plan developed during pregnancy will be extended and revised following the birth of the baby. While this is rare it is something that happens and can provide a unique element to the process of pregnancy.
Many women who have had gestational diabetes will also be at risk for large babies in future pregnancies. They may avoid the problem by managing their pregnancy diet using standard Type 2 diabetic nutritional guidelines.
You will need to remember that gestational diabetes affects both you and your unborn child. While issues may seem short-term your attention to immediate details can help you establish a healthier future for yourself and welcome your child into the world with fewer potential health issues to contend with as they grow to adulthood.