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Gestational Diabetes during Pregnancy

When I was told I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant, I raged against fate for several days. After all, I did ensure to have the healthiest diet possible!

Grumbling all the way, I went to meet my pregnancy dietitian who explained how crucial it was that I managed my blood sugar levels. As it dawned on me how uncontrolled gestational diabetes can lead to serious health consequences for my baby and me, suddenly the reason behind the condition didn’t matter anymore.

All I could think of was that I had to protect my baby. The last few weeks of my pregnancy was a battle of epic proportions — I had to keep track of my carbohydrate intake and check my blood sugar levels with military precision.

But thanks to God, all this hard work was absolutely worth it: on the 9th February 2013, I gave birth to a perfectly healthy little girl…’’ — Anna T.

If you are pregnant, and you’ve just been told you have gestational diabetes, don’t fret; a few simple tricks can help you avoid potential complications. I once had a client who used to eat lots of white bread for breakfast. Simply switching to oatmeal with some slivered almonds helped her curb her glucose spikes. A dietitian can provide dietary advice that best match your individual needs.

So, what is gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)?

GDM is a disorder characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that is first diagnosed during pregnancy. In a nutshell, the hormones produced by the placenta interfere with the mother’s insulin efficiency. Usually, the pancreas remedies to the situation by producing more insulin. When this doesn’t happen, blood glucose levels rise, resulting in GDM.

Diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus

The oral glucose tolerance test is used to screen for GDM — you will be given a sweet liquid to drink and a blood sample will be collected after 1 hour to see how your body processes the sugar.

Blood glucose levels of 140mg/dL or more are considered as abnormal and a fasting blood test will be warranted.

Read page two for tips on how to manage gestational diabetes mellitus

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