Health for Two

How you can keep your glucose levels in check when you’re expecting.

Health for Two
Diabetes Care | May 10, 2023

Pregnancy is a life-changing phase in a woman’s life. it can also be an overwhelming time marked by physical and hormonal changes, frequent visits to the doctor, and crucial medical decision-making. There are many critical parameters that need to be monitored closely during pregnancy— one of these is glucose tolerance, to check for Gestational Diabetes, a condition that occurs when the expecting mother’s body cannot produce enough insulin.

During pregnancy, the body makes more hormones and typically goes through other changes, such as weight gain. This can cause cells to use insulin less effectively, leading to a condition known as insulin resistance that increases the body’s need for insulin and can eventually cause gestational diabetes. Studies show that the incidence of gestational diabetes has increased by almost 56% globally in the last two decades. Mothers with gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life, face complications during birth or have a baby with developmental deficits. It is, thus, important to keep a close watch on blood sugar levels during pregnancy, and make lifestyle changes that can help glucose levels stay within normal range.

Early detection is key in managing any health condition. While increased thirst, tiredness, frequent urination are all common during pregnancy, they could also be symptoms of gestational diabetes. It is, therefore, vital to consult your OBGYN and test for glucose tolerance in the second trimester (between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy).

Besides, here are a few simple lifestyle changes that can help expecting mothers stabilize their glucose levels.

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Follow a healthy diet strategy

Swapping processed foods for wholefoods is the first step in managing your glucose levels. Carbohydrates that come from natural sources help to regulate blood sugar. Similarly, spreading out your carb content through the day across meals, rather than having it all at once, is also helpful in enhancing the body’s insulin sensitivity. While there’s no specific ‘gestational diabetes diet’ that you need to follow, being mindful of your food choices is a great way to keep your blood sugar in control.

Eat small meals that are spaced out through the day

Keep the meal size small and balance the portions throughout the day. Eating right amounts at the right time can contribute a great deal to keeping the blood sugar levels steady. It always helps to consult a dietician who can tailor an appropriate meal plan for you, based on your specific needs.

Stay active and keep on moving

Try to maintain an active lifestyle as much as you can. Regular physical activity lowers your blood sugar and makes you more sensitive to insulin, so your body doesn’t demand more insulin than is necessary. Make sure you check with your OBGYN on what kind of physical activity you can do and if there are any kinds that you should avoid.

Keep a close eye on blood sugar levels

Monitor your blood sugar to ensure that your levels stay in a healthy range. Advanced continuous glucose monitors come in handy as they help you track your glucose levels. This discreet sensor-based technology maps your glucose trends through the day and even at night while you’re sleep, making real-time monitoring a painless possibility.

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Get tested for diabetes post pregnancy

It is recommended that women who have had gestational diabetes get themselves tested for diabetes even after they have given birth. Although, for most women, gestational diabetes resolves soon after the baby is born, some women are at a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. So it is essential for the mother to continue to keep a tab on her blood sugar levels post-partum, look out for signs of gestational diabetes and maintain a healthy lifestyle, to reduce the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes.

Pregnancy is a special time, but it could also put a lot on your plate. You become more aware of the things you once took for granted— your food habits, your lifestyle, your movement, your sleep patterns— more so if you’re also dealing with diabetes. Innovations in med tech, like continuous glucose monitoring, empower you to take charge of your health and help smoothen your journey. They allow you to track pivotal factors like glucose fluctuations that can influence the well-being of you and your baby, giving you more visibility of what to expect, and enabling you to make better decisions.

Disclaimer: The information mentioned in this document is only suggestive /for patient education and shall not be considered as a substitute for doctor’s advice or recommendations from Abbott. Please consult your doctor for more information.