Are you planning a family any time soon? Then this is a must read, especially if you have a family history of diabetes or insulin resistance.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during gestation, usually when a mother to be has reached the middle of her second trimester. This type of diabetes usually goes away shortly after giving birth so it is viewed as a ‘temporary’ disease.
The risk of this disease lies in the fact that it shows no noticeable signs or symptoms so woman who don’t receive regular check-ups might not pick it up in time. While scientists have been unable to find out what exactly the cause is, they have been able to determine that it is less common in women of Caucasian decent.
To understand how gestational diabetes can affect your health as well as the health of you baby, you need to understand how pregnancy affects your body’s glucose processing.
Firstly you need to understand that your body digests food to produce sugar that enters your bloodstream as ‘fuel’. Your pancreas produces insulin which helps glucose move from the bloodstream into your body’s cells, where it’s used as energy. During pregnancy, the placenta produces high levels of other hormones. These hormones can interfere with the action of insulin in your cells, causing your blood sugar to rise.
Normally, one can expect a modest elevation of blood sugar levels after eating, in gestational diabetes the rise in your blood sugar is so high it can affect your baby’s growth and welfare. This condition can be controlled by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and if necessary and prescribed by your doctor – medication. Luckily you can still satisfy those cravings for something sweet with our assortment of Lekker Sweets sugar free range or try somesugar-free alternative snacks.
Before conception you should visit your doctor to assess your risk of developing gestational diabetes as there are some risk factors that doctors have identified. Consider a medical work up if:
- You are older than 25 years
- You have a personal history of insulin resistance, type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- You have a family history of insulin resistance, type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- You suffer from high/low blood sugar
If you do suffer from gestational diabetes, you should consider regular check-ups, especially during the last trimester of your pregnancy. The following are possible complications that you and your doctor should be prepared for:
- Excess birth weight which can cause problems during labour or birth (especially if the baby is too large to exit the birth canal)
- Premature labour, which can result in respiratory syndrome in babies
- Low blood sugar in babies can cause seizures
- Child is at risk of developing childhood type 2 diabetes
- As a mother you can develop high blood pressure or future diabetes
Should you find yourself in this position, then don’t fret! Take a breath, relax and have a slice of our delicious diabetic friendly chocolate brownie cookies! Pregnancy is not impossible or dangerous. It simply means that you need to practice more caution – which isn’t a bad idea anyway. Should you have any diabetes related questions, feel free to drop a comment below!