Gestational diabetes is the development of high blood glucose (sugar) during pregnancy. If this is not managed correctly it can lead to problems for both mother and baby. These risks are significantly reduced if this condition is detected early and managed well.
Gestational Diabetes can develop at any stage of pregnancy but usually occurs in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. If you have been diagnosed with Gestational diabetes, there is good news, you can control your blood sugars with a good diet and lifestyle, in more severe cases you may need medications.
In most cases the blood sugar returns to normal soon after delivery, controlling blood sugar levels can prevent a difficult birth and keep you and your baby safe and healthy.
Symptoms and Causes of Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes often has no symptoms, or they may be mild, such as being thirstier than normal or having to urinate more often.
During pregnancy, the hormones produced by the placenta reduce the metabolism of sugar. The pancreas needs to work harder to keep the blood glucose normal. If the pancreas is unable to do this, there is too much glucose in the blood and gestational diabetes is a result. Genes and overweight can also play a role in causing Gestational Diabetes.
Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes
As a routine, all pregnant women are screened for GD around week 24-28, unless you are have other risk factors where the test may be done earlier. The test is called the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT).
Treatment or Management of Gestational Diabetes
In most cases, depending on the severity of GD, with the right diet and exercise through the pregnancy, you can manage Gestational Diabetes without the need for medications. You will have to monitor your blood glucose level at regular intervals and modify the diet and activity levels to ensure that the levels are within the target range. If you are unable to maintain your blood glucose levels within the target range, you may need medication.
If poorly treated, babies born are at increased risk of being too large, have lower blood sugar at birth or jaundice. Further such babies are also at higher risk of being overweight and developing type-2 diabetes.
At Body with Soul, our dietitians works with women during their pregnancy to support them in managing their blood sugar levels. We will work closely with the expectant mother, family, and other healthcare professionals, giving guidance on diet, safe exercise and healthy weight gain through the different stages of pregnancy.
After the child birth, there is continued care offered; with guidance on breastfeeding, nutrition for the mother and the baby and safe weight loss.
We have a team of professionals at Body With Soul including Clinical Psychologists, Osteopaths and work with exercise coaches to support you through the pre-natal and post-natal care as required.
What happens during the consultation?
During your first consultation, our registered dietitian will require about full 60 minutes to
- get your full history including previous pregnancy, birth weight of the babies, your diet, lifestyle and any allergies
- Measure your height and weight
- Review any previous blood work done and order any additional blood work that may be necessary to fully analyse your nutrient levels
They will work with you to come up with an individualized diet and exercise plan that is healthy and safe, yet practical.
If necessary and if you prefer, we will refer you to our in-house exercise coaches to support you through an individualized safe prenatal exercise program that is specifically tailored to your needs and goals. Our dietitian will work with them to ensure that your health goals are safely met during the pregnancy and after child birth.
Following your diagnosis of gestational diabetes, you may be required to come back for a follow-up session every two weeks where our dietitian will monitor your blood tests and assist with any necessary change or to support you with alternate diet strategies.
After a couple of months, the frequency of follow up visits may be reduced, depending on your progress.
Post Child Birth:
We offer continued care post child birth with guidance on breastfeeding, nutrition for the mother and the baby and safe weight loss.