SEARCH

Features » Sunday Magazine

Updated: April 21, 2012 20:17 IST

Mum's the word

DR. VIJAY VISHWANATHAN
Comment (3)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Stay safe.
The Hindu Stay safe.

Diabetes during pregnancy can be scary. But with a few precautions, it need not cause harm to mother or child.

While motherhood is painted as the crowning glory and privilege of being a woman, it comes with its own inherent problems. One of the major problems is diabetes.

Diabetes in pregnant women is of two types: Gestational diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy and pre-gestational or pre-existing diabetes (type 1 or type 2 diabetes).

Two kinds

Diabetes in pregnant women occurs in about one in 20 pregnancies. Hormonal changes and weight gain are part of a healthy pregnancy, but these can sometimes take a toll on the body.

Gestational diabetes is a condition that occurs only during pregnancy. It usually develops in the middle of the pregnancy, between the 24th and 28th weeks when hormones interfere with the mother's ability to use insulin.

The two types of pre-gestational diabetes are:

When the body requires more energy than usual and the normal amount of glucose from the food intake is not sufficient. To compensate this, the pancreas makes more and more insulin.

But if insulin is not produced in the right amount or, due to malfunction of the pancreas, insulin is not produced; the glucose can't get into the cells, and accumulates in the blood causing diabetes. If not taken seriously, this can lead to blindness, chronic heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and also sometimes to amputations.

Many people are unaware that diabetes can be dangerous for pregnant women.

If uncontrolled, it can affect the baby. It can cause the baby to grow large (macrosomia) and have a higher birth weight (nearly four kg).

This can make normal delivery (vaginal) difficult. Uncontrolled diabetes can also put the baby at increased risk for breathing problems, low blood sugar levels after delivery and jaundice. There are chances that the baby may acquire diabetes or be born with defects.

So, the big question is: How to avoid gestational diabetes? In case of diabetics, how to ensure that the baby is not affected? It comes down to taking a few precautions during pregnancy.

What you can do

Follow the diet plan suggested by your dietician strictly.

Try to be active for at least two hours and 30 minutes each week. This will help keep blood glucose level on track.

Use a blood glucose meter to check levels periodically. This is very important so that the patient can take the necessary measures if levels drop.

Treatment

In such cases, the best treatment is Insulin. Insulin therapy helps maintain blood sugar levels in the normal range, which is important for the baby as well. It will prevent pre-term labour and miscarriage.

An insulin pump is the best choice as it is accurate, precise and flexible. It delivers insulin more accurately than injections; eliminates individual injections; improves HBA1c; reduces episodes of hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia; allows flexibility on when and what can be eaten; improves quality of life and allows you to exercise without having to eat large amounts of carbohydrate

All moms-to-be, just be careful. Keep a close check on blood glucose level and enjoy the pregnancy.

What can go wrong?

Diabetes in pregnant women can lead to a number of complications for both mother and the child.

Possible effects for the mother

High blood pressure resulting in fits or Pre-eclampsia

Increase in the amount of amniotic fluid

Pre-mature birth

Need for a caesarean birth because of complications

Chances of developing gestational diabetes in future pregnancies

Risk of developing type II diabetes later

Possible effects for the baby

Probability of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) for a few days after birth

High risk of jaundice

If the baby is born prematurely, respiratory distress syndrome is likely as the lungs cannot develop fully due to diabetes during pregnancy

 Higher risk of obesity later

Clear risk of developing diabetes later

RELATED NEWS

Not so sweetNovember 10, 2012

Pregnancy and motherhood are the precious moments in a woman's life. In ancient
time pregnancy was a natural part of woman. Now it is becoming more of a
disease, where the lady is adviced rest, and restructuring of her routine activities.
The Glucose Tolerance Test is usually done in the seventh month , and if high
sugar is detected, it can be controlled by dietary regulations- Less Carbohydrate
intake, and more of vegetables. If detected in the later months, the mother may be
put on insulin, which is safe at that point of time, but the mother is exposed to
risk of becoming diabetic later in her life.
For the benefit of herself and her child, the mother always has to be very cautious
of her health and the food that she takes.

from:  Dr.Sujithra Ram Manohar
Posted on: Jun 4, 2012 at 10:10 IST

Gestational Diabetes is not big problem provided proper diet is followed.Proper calculation of carbohydrates, protein , fat and fiber in the diet will make the gestation period a comfortable one.A layman's understanding of how to calculate these carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber in the diet can be seen with some good vegetarian recipes in the blog www.easygddiet.blogspot.com

from:  Lakshmi Ramachandran
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 22:22 IST

Mum's the word- was interesting to read .A lot of patients are un aware about it,which will lead to all complications.In certain villages meeting doctors during pregnancey is a luxury.They normally get treated by neighbors or elders and end up in missing of the diagnosis which leads to all complications.

from:  madhu
Posted on: Apr 28, 2012 at 16:52 IST
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Amandeep Sandhu, Manjul Bajaj, Manu Joseph and Sonora Jha read from their novels that were shortlisted for The Hindu Prize for Fiction 2013. Ziya Us Salam introduces them and moderates the session. <... »


O
P
E
N

close

Recent Article in Sunday Magazine

Rajini Balachandran and her creations Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

The sari is her canvas

Rajini Sarma Balachandran on how her Jari: The Sari Studio aims to link fine arts and the Kanjivaram sari. »