The Effects of Gestational Diabetes and Treatment
Most women who get diabetes during pregnancy go on to have healthy babies. However this does not mean that gestational diabetes will not effect your baby. So when you get gestational diabetes, you will wonder what effects does Gestational Diabetes have on unborn baby?
Effects of gestational diabetes on your baby? We know that if your blood levels are too high, too much glucose will end up in your baby’s blood. When that happens, your baby’s pancreas needs to produce more insulin to process the extra glucose. All this excess blood sugar and insulin can cause your baby to put on extra weight, particularly in the upper body.
This can lead to what’s called macrosomia. A macrosomic baby may be too large to enter the birth canal. Or the baby’s head may enter the canal but then his shoulders may get stuck. In this situation, called shoulder dystocia. A larger baby can make delivery more complicated for both mother and baby. Moreover, your baby can continue to be overweight in childhood and adulthood.
Futhermore, your baby may also be at higher risk for breathing problems at birth, particularly if your blood sugar levels aren’t well controlled or you deliver early (the lungs of babies whose mothers have diabetes tend to mature a bit later). The risk of newborn jaundice is increased, too.
If your blood sugar has been elevated during the pregnancy, your baby may have low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, shortly after birth. The extra insulin that your baby produces when your blood sugar is high continues to bring your baby’s blood sugar down for a short time after birth. Without the continued supply of sugar from maternal blood, your baby’s blood sugar level may fall too low. This is really dangerous.
So what are the treatment for this disease? You’ll need to keep diligent track of your glucose levels, using a home glucose meter or strips. To keep those levels where they should be, you’ll want to:
- Eating a well-planned diet. According to the American Diabetes Association: Getting nutritional counseling from a registered dietitian who’ll help you develop specific meal and snack plans based on your height, weight, and activity level.
- Your diet must have the correct balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, while providing the proper vitamins, minerals, and calories. To keep your glucose levels stable, it’s particularly important that you don’t skip meals, especially breakfast, and that you avoid sugary items like candy, cookies, cakes, and soda.
- This may sound daunting, but it’s not so hard once you get the hang of it. And don’t think of yourself as being on a special or restrictive diet. The principles of the diabetic diet are good ones for everyone to follow. Think of this as an opportunity to create healthier eating habits for yourself and your whole family. If everyone in the house is eating the same foods, you won’t feel as deprived.
- Doing Exercise. Many studies show that moderate exercise also helps improve your body’s ability to process glucose, keeping blood sugar levels in check. Many women with gestational diabetes benefit from 30 minutes of aerobic activity, such as walking or swimming, each day. Ask your practitioner what level of physical activity would be beneficial for you.
- Taking medication if necessary. If you’re not able to control your blood sugar well enough with diet and exercise alone, your provider will prescribe medication as well.