It is estimated that around 9.2% of women suffer from Gestational Diabetes during their pregnancy. ‘Gestation period’ is a period that occurs during pregnancy among all mammals and a few non-mammals: the period of embryo development within the vagina. If you’re wondering ‘what if I have gestational diabetes?’ or ‘what causes gestational diabetes?’ and more information on the same, this article is for you. Keep reading.
What exactly is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a condition when a woman develops high blood glucose or sugar levels during her pregnancy. We all know that our bodies turn the food we eat into glucose or sugar, which further enters our bloodstream. In response to that, our pancreas produces insulin to help move that glucose to our cells, where it is used as energy. Without a sufficient amount of insulin, our blood sugar levels can rise, which is an issue that should not be ignored or left untreated.
What are the common signs of gestational diabetes?
Most women suffering from Gestational Diabetes do not experience any symptoms other than basic pregnancy symptoms. Hence, it isn’t easy to know whether you have it or not without proper testing. However, there is a high possibility if you have symptoms like extreme fatigue, blurred vision, extreme nausea, vaginal, skin, or bladder infections, frequent urination (more than usual), excessive thirst, etc.
Note: However, note that having any of these symptoms may not necessarily mean that you have gestational diabetes. They could just be indications of other underlying conditions/issues.
What causes gestational diabetes?
The exact reason is unknown. However, the medical community’s best guess is that it causes due to the placenta’s growth. To support the baby while it is growing, the placenta has to grow too. This growing placenta releases a hormone known as Human Placental Lactogen HPL, which can and might block the work of insulin in the woman’s body. Lack of insulin might lead to the inability of the body to convert glucose into energy. This can further lead to excess glucose levels in the body and might also lead to a failed or negative glucose test. This is how gestational diabetes is diagnosed. Some of the commonly noted causes are:
1) History of Diabetes in Family
2) High Blood Pressure
3) Advanced maternal age
4) Being overweight or obese pre-pregnancy
5) If you suffer from Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS
6) If you suffered from Gestational Diabetes in a previous pregnancy
7) Being of a non-white race. The reasons aren’t known yet but, women belonging to the black, Indian, Asian, or Hispanic races are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
Risks of gestational diabetes for you and your baby
Even though gestational diabetes is most likely to go away after birth, there can be bad effects on the baby. If not controlled with the help of gestational diabetes home remedies or medication, it can cause the following issues in the baby:
1) Respiratory problems
2) Low blood sugar
4) Higher risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity as an adult
5) Higher risk of stillbirth
6) Pre-term delivery
How do I know if I have gestational diabetes?
There aren’t any standardized screening guidelines to know that you have Gestational Diabetes. Usually, doctors follow a procedure known as, Glucola Test. This procedure is done between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. There are many home remedies for gestational diabetes during pregnancy. If you find out that you have gestational diabetes, don’t be scared and learn to manage it.
What to do if I fail the glucose test?
If you turn out positive on the test, it becomes very important to follow a healthy diet and try managing the symptoms to whatever extent possible. Below are 5 diet tips for gestational diabetes that will help you. So you can try out these natural home remedies:
1. Eat foods that reduce inflammation: seeds, nuts, grass-fed butter, fatty fish, olive oil, and most importantly, green leafy vegetables.
2. Lower consumption of foods that are rich in carbohydrates: this might sound difficult but is necessary to keep yourself and your baby healthy. Avoid both good carbs and bad carbs. Healthy carbs include beans, oats, dairy products, and some fruits like bananas, sweet potatoes, oranges, etc. On the other hand, harmful carbs include cereals, pasta, bread, etc.
Your new Gestational diabetes diet should strictly be low-carb. It should include healthy fats and proteins, which help stabilize blood sugar, decrease insulin resistance and balance your hormones. Consider consulting a nutritionist to help you with your diet plan.
3. To get the best result, eat protein and fiber-rich foods. Increase protein consumption and fiber-rich foods widely found in green leafy vegetables: Brussels, broccoli, artichokes, cauliflower, kale, zucchini, etc. These foods help manage Gestational Diabetes as they slow down the digestion time, hence, reducing insulin spikes
4. The lower the vitamin D, the higher the risk of being prone to it. So ensure you get sufficient Vitamin D by spending time under the sun / or consuming additional Vitamin D supplements. For this, it is suggested that you consult a medical professional.
5. Seeking the Help of Ayurveda: Ayurveda usually focuses on bringing a balance of the doshas by combining various herbs, lifestyle changes, and diet changes mentioned above.
Some Ayurveda-based Natural Home Remedies ARE:
1) Consumption of turmeric powder, bitter gourd juice, barley
2) Some physical activity along with Yogasana and Pranayama
3) Consumption of curry leaves, spices like fenugreek seeds and garlic, and cinnamon tea.
(Do not consume an excess of cinnamon as it might cause some involuntary contractions)
4) Get enough sleep and avoid stressing out.
With these healthy home remedies for controlling gestational diabetes, there is nothing for you to be afraid of! However, it is always best to consult your doctor before coming to any conclusions and to be safe.